The legal process by which a will is proved, accepted, and validated in a court as the true last testament of a deceased is known as probate. It determines whether a will written by a deceased testator is valid or invalid.
With a Will
Suppose a person dies testate, which means that he had a valid will at the time of his death. In that case, the legal representative or executor designated in the will is responsible for initiating the probate process.
Without a Will
Probate also helps in the sorting out and administration of the deceased’s various estates and possession if they died intestate, i.e., without a will. An administrator appointed by the court is responsible for distributing the deceased’s assets as per the state laws.
Probate Law Attorney
In both the above cases, a licensed probate law attorney plays the most crucial role in managing and executing probate.
A probate law attorney is responsible for providing legal advice and assisting the executor and the party’s beneficiaries in discharging their responsibilities. In some instances, the attorney can also be designated as the executor.
The attorney initiates the probate administration process, collects the deceased’s various assets, handles the finances, protects the interest of all involved parties, prepares the legal documents, and provides many other legal services.
The probate administration process is initiated when a person dies intestate or without distributing or disposing of some of their assets in a will.
When the deceased dies without appointing an executor in their will or the assigned executor fails to execute their responsibilities, the court must set an administrator. They make an appointment following a letter of administration issued by the beneficiaries of the party. The administrator enjoys the same administrative rights and roles as an executor. Generally, there are three types of administration:
In this probate proceeding, a petition is filed in the court by the executor or any other beneficiary to appoint a ‘Personal Representative’ who is legally authorized to administer and act on behalf of the deceased’s estate and assets.
Summary Administration is applied in cases when:
- The deceased had died before more than two years,
- They paid all their debts, or
- If the value of their estate is less than $75,000
This type of administration is applied when the deceased was not a Florida resident but owned properties in Florida. The administrator, in such a case, must be thorough with the probate laws of Florida.
When is a Probate Law Attorney Required?
Different factors must be taken into consideration before hiring a probate law attorney. One should verify the state probate laws, and if they are relatively straightforward, they can skip hiring an attorney. The type of assets and properties involved in the will must be assessed.
It is incredibly vital for the intentions of the parties involved to be resolute and malice-free. If they are unaware of the complexities of probate, they must reach out to a proficient, authorized lawyer for a smoother process.