Probate Lawyers

Frank Heston Probate Lawyers

About Probate

You may need probate lawyers.

Probate is the legal process of administering the property of a decedent according to the instructions in the decedent’s last will and testament. The primary concerns of the probate court are:

  • Determining the rightful heirs to property;
  • Making sure the financial obligations of the decedent are paid;
  • Transferring legal title of the decedent’s property to the heirs.

In Florida, there are two main probate proceedings: formal probate and summary probate. Determining which to file depends on the amount and nature of property in the decedent’s estate which is best done by probate lawyers.

A formal probate is generally filed when the total estate value exceeds $75,000 or in a small estate where there are other issues that require the court’s action or intervention (such as estate debts which exceed the value of estate assets).

If the total estate value is $75,000 or less (excluding homestead real property) or the decedent died two or more years prior to filing, a summary probate may be filed.

Property not subject to probate in Florida may be subject to a probate administration in another state where the property is located. Likewise, a resident of another state who individually owns real property in Florida may have a primary probate proceeding in the decedent’s home state and an ancillary proceeding in Florida.

Exempted or excluded property from the probate estate include: Homestead, Jointly-Owned Property, Life Insurance, Annuities, Retirement Accounts and Pay-On-Death Accounts.

Call Frank Heston Law Firm at 954-755-7800 and schedule a Free Consultation with our Probate Lawyers

ADVANTAGES OF PROBATE

While a large percentage of people who come to our office do so with the intention of keeping their estates out of the probate courts, this is not true of everyone. There are, after all, certain benefits of probate. For example, probate gives you the opportunity to challenge a will that you believe your loved one may have drafted while not of sound mind or while under the undue influence of a person who did not have their best interests at heart. Additionally, taking the estate to probate means that the decedent’s creditors will have only three months to pursue claims against the estate, after which their claims will be forfeited under Florida law.

DISADVANTAGES OF PROBATE

Many of our clients come to us with questions concerning how to avoid probate.

There are many reasons for this:

  • Probate can be highly expensive in terms of court costs, and these costs are to be paid to the court before the beneficiaries of the will receive anything in terms of an inheritance.
  • The same is true of debts, which must be paid prior to distributing any assets to the beneficiaries.
  • Probate will often leave little or nothing to the surviving family members. This is a great concern to our clients who want to make sure that their loved ones are able to enjoy the full benefit of the fruit of their lifelong hard work.
  • Depending on the complexity of the case, probate can take anywhere from a few months to an average of 12 to 18 months or even longer
  • The proceedings in a probate case become a matter of public record, thereby exposing certain information concerning the estate and your personal affairs to public scrutiny.

Our Probate Lawyers Take the Stress Out of the Probate Process

Our attorneys will handle everything for our South Florida probate clients including filing the decedent’s tax returns, minimizing estate taxes, and avoiding unnecessary estate litigation. Utilizing the services of our South Florida probate attorneys will ensure that every conceivable possibility is accounted for; even those not readily apparent to beneficiaries of an estate. Handling the probate of an estate can be a stressful, worrisome, and expensive process if not handled correctly. Retaining our South Florida probate law firm for representation can mitigate these harsh effects and facilitate a smoother ride through the probate administration process.

Call Frank Heston Law Firm at 954-755-7800 and schedule a Free Consultation with our Probate Lawyers

probate lawyers

Show Comments