The Duties of a Florida Probate Attorney

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What are the Categories of Probate in Florida? The process which allows for the estate of a deceased person to be disseminated among the heirs is called probate If the decedent's assets at time of death (known as the probate estate) were held in their name only and total under $75,000, or if the person has been dead for over two years, a less complex type of probate called summary administration can be implemented.

     This type of probate is usually fairly straightforward, and it  may not appear that a probate attorney is necessary. Many times,  even a 'personal representative' (usually referred to as an  executor in other states) is not necessary. Unfortunately, some apparently simple probate cases can eventually become rather complex when initially unknown facts emerge regarding assets, debts, or other estate components. Therefore, FL law requires that summary administration incorporate the participation of a probate attorney.

The other usual type of probate is called formal administration. This is used when the decedent has been dead for less than two years or the value of the probate estate exceeds $75,000 or includes real estate.If the person died less than two years ago, and/or real estate is included, and/or the value of the estate is over $75,000, then formal administration would be used. Formal administration does require the appointment of a personal representative approved by the probate judge.

There is a third type of probate available if the decreased's probate estate contains only assets such as an automobile or household furnishings, referred to as 'exempt property', and/or non-exempt property which has a value less than necessary to pay Funeral expenses can't exceed $6000. This type of probate is called disposition of personal property without administration, and would be the only time probate is allowed to proceed without a probate attorney's participation.

Do I need a Probate Attorney? The process of probate, as should be quite evident by now, can be an extremely involved undertaking. Florida is one of quite a few states to adopt the UPC or Uniform Probate Code, created by the NCCUSL and intended to simplify the probate process.

But each adopting state has the option to make any alterations that they wish to the UPC. Therefore, it's always required to go by the rules in the particular state's version, not the original model UPC.

As stated earlier, even the most simple probate estates can give rise to previously unknown issues, which will be unfamiliar and very likely confusing to a layperson who has not previously dealt with the probate process.

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What Tasks Does a Florida Probate Lawyer Perform? A probate attorney advises and represents the personal representative during the probate process, which, as mentioned before, can be unclear to and not easily understood by anyone not trained and experienced in the proceedings. Usually, the probate attorney can handle the entire process by mail. But in the case of probate being disputed or contested, the attorney would most likely have to personally appear in court. The personal representative will most likely require the assistance of the probate attorney in regards to filing all the necessary forms, computing the tax liabilities of the estate, finding and paying off any creditors, and properly dividing up the final assets among the beneficiaries.

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