What is Probate?

When a person dies, a probate attorney assists with the legal process for transferring the property of the “decedent” (the deceased person) to his or her heirs or beneficiaries. This process is called “probate.” You may be surprised to learn that even if someone has a Last Will & Testament (“Will”) probate is still necessary. As long as an individual has “probate assets,” probate is required to transfer his or her assets after death.

Probate is a court-supervised process. This is a specialized area of law with many complex rules and specific procedures that must be followed. Florida has specific probate rules, deadlines, and procedures that must be followed to properly administer an estate. It is the job of the personal representative (often called an “executor” or “administrator” in other states), to administer the decedent’s estate in accordance with those laws.

Even the simplest of estates can have complex legal issues that must be resolved. This is why it is best to always work with a probate attorney. Attempting to administer an estate on your own without the assistance of an experienced probate attorney frequently leads to significant frustration and confusion. Mistakes made in this area are costly: they cost you and the estate time and money.

How long it will take to probate an estate depends on a number of factors. Because each estate is unique, there is no single answer to this question. However, assuming the estate is a fairly simple one (with few or no complications or family fights) and if Federal estate taxes do not have to be filed, it can take anywhere from six to twelve weeks to complete the probate process. If you do not have the assistance of a probate attorney, administering an estate will consume a significant amount of your time and energy and will probably take far longer.

Probate attorney Samantha J. Fitzgerald specializes in Florida Probate and Estate Planning Law. Her team can help your family navigate this difficult process with care and compassion. Call us today at (954) 466-0842 with any questions or complete the easy form below and we’ll call you to set up an initial consultation.

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About The Firm

Since 2011, the SJF Law Group has been helping clients protect their families with estate planning, probate & trust administration. We pride ourselves on combining the personalized service and attention of a boutique firm, with the talent and legal acumen of a large firm.

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