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Understanding Probate

The death of a loved one is an emotional and traumatic event.  It is made only worse if a lawyer need get involved in straightening out the affairs of the loved one.  Though it does not lessen the pain of loss, finding a compassionate and experienced lawyer can lessen the stress and confusion of dealing with the court system.

Common Probate Misconceptions

In addition to our experience of probating over 400 estates throughout the state of Florida, we use the latest software and technology needed for processing each probate file with the speed and efficiency expected by our clients.  By coupling efficiency and experience, we can help your family navigate through the probated process, relieving you of stress and confusion during a difficult time.

Please feel free to  call us to discuss your estate planning needs.

Common Probate Misconceptions

In a nutshell, probate is a legal process, which involves the passing of assets from the dead to the living.  The assets would pass to beneficiaries named in a Last Will and Testament or, absent a Last Will and Testament, to the heirs as specified by Florida law.

Typically, the process includes notifying the creditors of the deceased, allowing those creditors to file claims against the estate in hopes of getting.  Beneficiaries or heirs will receive the remaining assets once all the creditors are paid.

Probate Misconceptions

A Probate Can Take Years to Complete

It shouldn't! In the state of Florida, probate rules require a probate to be completed within one year.  In fact under certain circumstances, it is possible to complete a probate in less than 30 days!  There can be circumstances under which it may take longer than one year.  In such cases, the time to complete can be extended, but only by a court order signed by a judge.

If I have a Will, Probate is Unnecessary 

Having a Will does NOT mean that a probate is unnecessary.  Having a Last Will does not avoid probate, but rather helps facilitate the process.

Creditors Can Take My Loved One's Home

This is absolutely false! Under Florida law our home is our castle. Even during life, creditors cannot force the sale of the home, in which we reside. So long as the deceased's home is passes to blood relatives at their death, the home passes free from claims of the deceased's creditors. However, there is an exception. If there is a mortgage on the property, and it goes unpaid after death, then the house could be lost through a foreclosure.

I am Responsible to Pay Bills

Unless you or someone else, during the life of the deceased assumed the responsibility of a debt with your loved one, your are not legally responsible to personally pay any debt of the deceased.  This is even true for surviving spouses.  Only the estate would be responsible, assuming the creditor has files a claim against the estate.

If I do Nothing, Florida Gets the Assets

This is also absolutely false.  Failing to do a probate does not entitle the state to take your loved one's assets.  However, without a probate, you may be unable to marshal them from the custodian of the assets.

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