Probate of Wills and Estate


UNCONTESTED ESTATE MATTERS

The death of a loved one can result in legal problems such as changing title to assets, creditor claims, and filing tax returns. While some issues can be handled by the family of the decedent, other issues may require the assistance of an attorney.

After the death of a loved one, Florida requires that the original will, if there is one, be filed with the clerk of court for the county in which the decedent was domiciled at the time of death, within ten (10) days after death. This protects the will from accidental destruction or from being misplaced. Change in title of some assets can be accomplished by the presentation of a death certificate and completion of an application form. For example, a life insurance policy with a named beneficiary generally requires only a completed application form, a death certificate, and possibly, the original policy. However, for other assets, the probate of the estate of the decedent is required in order to establish judicially the transfer of ownership.

Uncontested probate involves resolving issues concerning creditor claims, liability for taxes, and the distribution of the decedent’s assets through the court system. The primary purposes of uncontested probate is to authenticate the will of the decedent, if there is one, provide clear title to assets, resolve creditor claims, if, any, deal with income tax returns and other tax matters, and then distribute the assets as required by law.

The office of Larry Studer helps clients determine whether transferring ownership requires probate or just the presentation of a death certificate and completed application form. We present the alternative types of probate so that the client can decide which approach will accomplish the transfer of ownership and resolution of related issues in the simplest way possible. Sometimes, an expedited procedure known as summary administration can be used. At other times, formal administration is required. Formal administration offers more flexibility and handles a greater variety of problems, but takes longer to accomplish.

Contact our office to arrange your consultation and to discuss the simplest and most effect approach to resolve issues that arise after the death of a loved one.

CONTESTED ESTATE MATTERS

Unfortunately, ofttimes disputes arise after a person dies. Litigation in the area of wills and estates involves making use of the court system to resolve disputes that arise in connection with estate of decedents. Some disputes involve ownership of assets. Other disputes involve the validity of wills, trusts, and nuptial agreements. The diversion of assets from the rightful beneficiary often results in disputes. And the issue of the proper handling of the estate can cause disputes between the fiduciary and beneficiaries.

When disputes arise, the services of an attorney who has been in the court room, who understands the intricacies of the court system, who can advance and present your side of the dispute, and if need be, who can handle any appeal of the decision of the trial court, will be needed.