Florida Probate Lawyer
Probate is an administrative process supervised by the courts that is required to distribute a person’s estate in accordance with their will or according to Florida laws on intestate succession when there is no valid will in place. The court saddles the estate’s personal representative with a long list of tedious, difficult or complex tasks as part of the probate process, but the personal representative might not have the time, expertise or ability to complete many of these jobs. A skilled Florida probate lawyer can help by providing legal counsel and technical help to make sure probate proceeds efficiently and concludes smoothly and successfully. Learn more about Florida probate rules below, and contact The Law Office of Verna Popo, P.A., for practical advice and professional assistance with probate in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.
What Does Probate Involve, and How Can Florida Probate Attorney Verna Popo Help?
The personal representative of the estate is a person named in the will or appointed by the court to fulfill this essential role during probate. Often, the estate’s personal representative is a close family member (spouse, child) who is already going through a difficult time emotionally to process the recent loss of a loved one. Although the representative is someone the decedent knew and trusted to complete this thankless job, it is often someone with little or no experience performing the tasks associated with probate or estate administration.
Regardless of their background or experience in probate, the personal representative owes fiduciary duties to the estate and its heirs and beneficiaries. This means the representative could actually get sued for performing probate duties negligently or incompetently. It’s expected for the personal representative to get the right kind of help from professionals as needed, such as attorneys, accountants or property appraisers. As a skilled and knowledgeable Florida probate attorney, Verna Popo can guide you through every step of the probate process.
Some of the duties involved in probating an estate include:
- File a petition in the proper court to open the probate estate.
- Submit the will to be proven and accepted into probate as the testator’s last will and testament.
- Locate and notify heirs about the probate proceeding.
- Identify, gather and inventory assets of the estate.
- Pay debts owed by the estate.
- Dispute false or suspicious claims brought against the estate.
- File a final personal tax return for the decedent.
- File an estate tax return, if necessary.
- Manage the estate during the probate process. Invest, maintain or sell property as necessary to give effect to the terms of the will.
- Distribute property according to the will or Florida intestate succession laws.
- Close the estate.
Disposition Without Administration
Florida Statutes 735.301 provides a summary process that certain estates can utilize instead of probate. The process known as disposition without administration only requires filing an affidavit with the court and only takes about a month to complete. The estate must meet the following criteria to qualify:
- The estate contains personal property only and no real property (real estate).
- The contents of the estate are exempt from creditors.
- If the estate property is not exempt from creditors, then the value of the estate is not greater than what is needed to cover preferred funeral expenses and reasonable and necessary medical and hospital expenses from the final 60 days of the deceased’s life.
Contact The Law Office of Verna Popo, P.A., to determine whether the estate you are dealing with is eligible for disposition without administration.
- Invest, manage or maintain trust assets for the benefit of the beneficiaries.
- Notify the beneficiaries upon the settlor’s death.
- Prepare required documents.
- File tax returns.
- Pay taxes.
- Distribute trust property to beneficiaries according to the trust documents.
As a fiduciary, the trustee can be liable to the beneficiaries for negligence or mistakes that harm the beneficiaries’ interest in the trust assets. Our Florida wills and trusts lawyer can advise and assist the trustee in completing complicated tasks. We can also represent beneficiaries seeking to remove a trustee for breach of fiduciary duty or demand an accounting of trust assets.
Get the Help You Need with Florida Probate maters in the Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties.
For help with probate and trust administration in the Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties call The Law Office of Verna Popo, P.A.