Florida Probate Attorney
When a loved one passes away, the last thing you want to worry about is dividing up assets or spending hours discussing them with lawyers.
However, probate is usually necessary when someone passes away, even if they have a Will.
Based in Clearwater, Florida, our probate attorneys can provide services throughout Florida.
Here at atCAUSE Law Office, our dedication is to make the probate process as simple and smooth as possible. We offer full-service, flat-fee billing, so you don't have to worry about surprise legal fees.
What is Probate?
Probate is a court-supervised process of locating the assets of a deceased person, paying their debts, and distributing their assets to any beneficiaries. Generally, the decedent's assets will pay for the probate proceeding cost, funeral expenses, and creditors.
Appointing a personal representative (commonly referred to as an executor);
Determining the value of assets;
Identifying and notifying valid creditors;
Paying the decedent's debts;
Designating assets to proper beneficiaries;
Distributing the estate;
Is Probate Necessary?
Probate is required if someone passes away without a Will – this is known as an intestate estate. In that case, assets are distributed under the supervision of probate court, which can be a long and complicated process.
When someone passes away with a Will, the probate court determines if it is legally acceptable.
If the decedent's estate planning was done correctly, one could avoid going through the probate process to distribute most assets.
For example, probate is not necessary for assets with a named beneficiary, assets held in a trust, or assets jointly owned with the right of survivorship.
Some items may go through probate, such as non-titled property (like general household items) or sole ownership property.
Figuring out which assets will have to go through probate is best left to an experienced probate lawyer.
Why Would You Need an Attorney?
An experienced estate planning attorney will know how to help plan your estate to avoid probate. Though many probate attorneys practice in the area of estate planning, and vice-versa, they are not interchangeable services.
A probate attorney can help you through every step of the probate process, whereas an estate planning attorney will help avoid it in the first place.
The two main reasons you would need an attorney are:
To avoid probate - if possible, it's best to do everything you can while you're still living to ensure your loved ones won't have to deal with the stress and expenses of going through the probate process after you pass away. An estate planning attorney can help you with the planning so your assets will be fully accounted for.
To help with the probate process - If you're already dealing with the probate process, an attorney can help you through each step to ensure a smooth process. Often, probate can take as long as six months to a year or more. A probate attorney can help speed up the process by ensuring everything is free of mistakes so that assets are distributed as quickly and fairly as possible.
Experienced Probate Attorneys in Clearwater, FL
Our experienced probate lawyers can help you with probate, regardless of where you are in the process. We can also assist you with setting up wills, trusts, and estate plans if you want to be proactive about the probate process.
Give us a call today at 727-477-2255 to set up a consultation!