Jacksonville Probate Attorneys
The experienced Probate Attorneys of Grigaltchik & Galustov are here to help you navigate and understand the complexities of probate law, what assets and debts are impacted by the probate process, and will assist you with all stages of estate planning and probate.
How Does the Probate Process Work?
When a property owner passes away in the state of Florida, it is a requirement that any property that is titled in the deceased individual’s name must pass through probate proceedings in order to update the title to the property heir, as designated in the will. During the probate process, the debts and assets of the deceased, as well as any division wishes stated in their Will, are analyzed, certain debts are paid, and remaining assets are distributed.
If no Will is in place at the time of death, intestacy laws are in place to determine the recipient of remaining assets, typically the next of kin.
But we have very little, do we still need Probate?
Florida law provides for two basic types of probate administration. The first, Summary Administration, is designed to assist the family of an individual with a quick wind-up of what could be considered a small or little estate by value.
To qualify for Summary Administration, a deceased individual’s total estate value is usually composed of un-exempt assets is $75,000.00. The individual’s family members may benefit with the completion of the process within 2-3 months, as well as enjoy lower attorney’s fees and costs. Un-exempt assets are typically cash in a bank account or stocks, whereas, exempt assets are a deceased individual’s homestead, personal effects, and up to two vehicles valued at $20,000.00 or less. These exempt assets are not counted towards the $75,000.00 estate value, and as such, a larger number of families can take advantage of the economic benefits of a Summary Administration.
The second, Formal Administration, is designed for large estates exceeding the estate value of $75,000.00. We can assist with all probate cases, regardless of the size of your estate.
What are the other reasons to hire a Probate Attorney?
Any individual property owner who wishes to leave a legacy for their family can benefit from working with an estate planning and probate attorney. Probate attorneys can help determine if you have the option to avoid probate with careful planning, reduce exposure to debt and thereby ultimately protect assets that you wish your family receives after your passing. It is very common for individuals to take efforts to reduce asset exposure to probate and creditors, but without competent legal advice, individuals often make mistakes that can ultimately end up costing a lot more than anticipated. The failure to plan properly could serve to substantially reduce your family’s inheritance.
Appointing a Personal Representative
It is important that you select a competent individual in your Will to be your personal representative. The selected individual serve as the key agent in achieve the legacy you desire for your family. Typically, this is someone who is familiar with your finances and is willing and able to work with your probate lawyer.
Your personal representative will assist you with:
- The Initial Filing of Probate Paperwork
- Estate Accounting
- Payment of Fees, Taxes, and Outstanding Debts
- Closing the Estate
- Appropriate Distribution of Assets
Contesting a Will & Probate Litigation
If a beneficiary or proposed beneficiary does not agree with the terms of a will, or has reason to doubt its validity, then they have the option to contest the will. There are many aspects of the will that may come into question, such as the division of property between heirs, the qualifications of the personal representative, the legal validity of the will, whether it is the most current will, and if the deceased was under duress or undue influence at the time of will creation.
If a will is found to be invalid, then the estate will be administered as if there were no will present, using intestacy laws that exist specifically for situations in which a plan for estate division has not been defined.
If you have lost a loved one and have reason to question the validity of a will, our lawyers can assist you with the contested will process.
Free Consultation with Jacksonville Probate Attorney
Our Jacksonville Probate attorneys are experienced in estate planning and can assist you in probate matters and processes for distribution of property and debt.
For a Free Probate or Estate Planning Consultation, Call the Law Firm of Grigaltchik & Galustov, P.A., at (904) 701-7180.