Probate Lawyers in Sarasota, Florida

probate attorney sarasota, floridaWhile we all hope that our estate will be managed well and won’t be a source of conflict when we pass, the truth is that there are often problems and complications that can make things difficult for our loved ones and beneficiaries. The probate court in Florida is designed to help navigate those complications while honoring the intentions of the decedent and also understanding that sometimes complications need to be resolved legally, not individually.

There are a lot of factors that need to be considered when you’re dealing with a probate case, in Florida and everywhere. Because these cases can often be complicated and multi-faceted, it’s a good idea to have a probate lawyer in Florida working with you. 

Getting a local Florida attorney also helps make sure they know the details of Florida-specific probate law, and that they’re prepared with the best possible arguments and understanding of your case. 

What Is Probate In Florida? 

On the simplest level, probate is the process a will goes through after someone passes on, to make sure the will is respected and that the assets in the will are dealt with fairly and legally. 

Probate is also an opportunity for interested parties to have their say or contest the contents of the will if they have a legal reason for doing so. 

There are two forms of probate, depending on the size of the estate in question. 

Formal Probate

Formal probate is used anytime the value of the estate in question meets or exceeds $75,000. That means that this is the type of probate that’s most common, and it’s considered standard. 

Remember that the value of an estate includes the value of non-monetary assets, like any properties or large possessions previously owned by the decedent. 

Summary Administration

Summary administration is essentially an expedited version of the probate process and is only used if the total value of the estate in question is less than $75,000. 

Despite this process being expedited, it’s still a good idea to have a probate lawyer in Sarasota, Florida. Having a probate lawyer is important because they’ll help make sure you understand the process, that your needs are addressed, and they’ll help keep the process as painless as possible. 

Florida State Probate Process

Having a will doesn’t necessarily mean that everything is done and taken care of. There is a process in place to help make sure wills are respected, but that also gives interested parties a chance to contest the contents of the will or to argue for undue influence or other problems in the creation of the will. 

Probate courts oversee this process and help make sure everything is done correctly and legally. Having a probate attorney in Sarasota, Florida will help you navigate probate, especially if you do need to contest anything during the process. 

You can also work with a probate law firm in Sarasota, Florida, they specialize specifically in probate cases and may have more than one attorney who works specifically in probate. 

1. Filing The Will

When someone dies, the responsible party for their will needs to file that will with the appropriate county. In Florida, that means that they need to file in the county where the testator (the person whose will it is) resided before they died. If there is more than one residence, the county of primary residence should be used. 

2. Petition For Administration

This is just the step that lets the state know that they need to begin the probate process for the will in question. 

3. Appointing A Representative

The next step is appointing a personal representative or executor whose job it will be to deal with the possessions and assets as described in the will. They are responsible for both gathering those assets and distributing them, which may also involve finding proof of ownership and transferring required documents to the new owners. 

4. Determining Validity

A will needs to undergo review to make sure it’s valid and that there aren’t any serious concerns about the will, its origin, or the testator’s state of mind before you can move forward with the rest of the process. 

5. Accounting

As part of gathering all the assets described in the will, this step is gathering together everything included in the estate and accounting for them. This is important to make sure nothing is missing, and to determine what should be done with any assets that aren’t specifically accounted for in the will.

Notices are also sent to all interested parties, including beneficiaries, creditors, and anyone else who may be involved in the probate process. 

Everyone who is notified of the accounting process has 30 days to file any disputes. If no disputes are filed within 30 days, the probate court will finalize the accounting of the estate. 

6. Closing

Only after the accounting period is closed can the personal representative or executor file a petition of discharge. Then, the assets in the estate are distributed as dictated by the will. After distribution is completed the probate court will close the estate.  

Why Do You Need A Probate Attorney In Sarasota, Florida? 

There is a wide range of issues that can complicate the probate process, no matter what state you live in. 

Having a probate attorney in Sarasota, Florida working on the case with you can help you better understand what’s going on, and give you a better opportunity to argue your perspective if you’re involved in any probate disputes. 

Here are a few ways interested parties can contest a will: 

  • Validity: this questions if a will is legally valid and enforceable. 
  • Undue influence: If someone named as a beneficiary was involved in procuring the will, get significant benefits from it, and had a confidential relationship with the decedent, other interested parties may argue they had an undue influence over the decedent and will. 
  • Removal of a beneficiary: if a beneficiary that was previously in the will was removed in the final version, they may have the right to contest their removal in court. 
  • Estate Fraud: there are several ways to commit estate fraud, including not telling the testator they are signing a will, misrepresenting the contents of the will, or lying to the executor or testator at any point in the process. 

These are only some of the possible complications that can come up during probate, there are several other ways a will may be contested, and in some cases, there may be multiple different contestations about the same will. 

Because this process can get complicated quickly when there is a contest, we’d recommend consulting with a probate attorney in Florida as soon as possible so you’re prepared for problems. 

Get A Probate Attorney In Sarasota, Florida On Your Side

If you need a probate lawyer in Sarasota, Florida, the Law Office Of Mary E. King, P.L. can help. Don’t wait until you’re buried in complications and don’t know what to do next. Work with a qualified probate attorney who can guide you through the process, answer your questions, and represent your best interests. 

Contact the Law Office Of Mary E. King, P.L. for a consultation, today.