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Putnam County Probate Attorney

Is Probate Required in Florida?

Probate issues are often emotionally taxing and resource-intensive experiences. After a person passes away, their possessions, assets, and liabilities are distributed in probate court according to Florida’s probate laws. Sometimes, the decedent's friends and family may not agree about the decedent’s intent regarding the administration of their testamentary estate.

 When this happens, it may be necessary to retain the legal services of an experienced Putnam County probate attorney for probate representation. At Hedstrom Law, P.A., our qualified lawyers can help navigate even the most complicated probate process.

Call us at (386) 200-6547 or contact us online today to schedule your FREE initial consultation. 

Do I Need an Attorney for Probate in Florida?

Yes, in many cases an attorney is required for probate in Florida. In cases where it is not required, it is highly recommended. There are two situations in Florida where an attorney is not required:

  • “Disposition without administration” is for a very small estate
  • When the executor is the sole beneficiary

However, even if an attorney is not required in your situation, you will still want to get legal assistance to help you navigate the complexities of Florida’s probate law. Do not hesitate to reach out to our firm for help.


How Long Does an Executor Have to Settle an Estate in Florida

In Florida, an executor usually takes up to six months to wrap up simple estates. For standard formal administrations, it can take up to one year. For complex and litigated estates, it can take two or more years.

Here is the average time for the probate process in Florida: 

  • Simple estate's affairs within three months 
  • The formal probate administration usually takes up to a year 
  • Large estates can last more than two years 

Suppose you do not receive an inventory and appraisal of the estate within 90 days. In that case, you should speak to a probate litigation attorney. You can ask the court to remove the executor.

During this time, an executor will be appointed, there will be a 90-day creditor period, the creditor’s claims will be paid, etc. The probate process for very small estates can often be completed in less than one month.

What is Considered a Small Estate in Florida?

Florida considers a small estate as $75,000 or less in assets. Probate for a small estate is less complicated and usually a quicker process.

How To Avoid Probate In Florida?

In Florida, there are several methods to avoid probate or minimize its impact on an estate. Probate is the legal process of administering a deceased person's estate, including distributing their assets to beneficiaries and settling their debts.

Some ways to avoid probate in Florida include:

  • Revocable living trusts: Creating a revocable living trust allows you to transfer ownership of your assets to the trust during your lifetime. Upon your death, the assets held in the trust can pass to your beneficiaries without going through probate, as they are governed by the terms of the trust.
  • Joint ownership with rights of survivorship: Holding assets jointly with rights of survivorship means that when one owner dies, the surviving owner(s) automatically inherit the deceased owner's share of the property, bypassing probate. This method is commonly used for bank accounts, real estate, and other assets.
  • Payable-on-death (POD) or transfer-on-death (TOD) designations: Designating beneficiaries on bank accounts, retirement accounts, and certain securities can allow these assets to transfer directly to the named beneficiaries upon your death, avoiding probate.
  • Beneficiary designations: Similar to POD and TOD designations, naming beneficiaries for life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and certain financial accounts can allow these assets to pass directly to the named beneficiaries outside of probate.
  • Small estate procedures: In Florida, estates with a total value of $75,000 or less may qualify for simplified probate procedures, which can expedite the process and reduce costs.
  • Gifting assets: Making gifts of assets during your lifetime can reduce the size of your estate and the assets subject to probate. However, this approach should be carefully considered, as there may be tax implications and other considerations to take into account.

It's important to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney in Florida to determine the best strategy for your specific circumstances. Estate planning can be complex, and a knowledgeable attorney can help you create a plan that meets your goals while minimizing the impact of probate on your estate.

What Happens if I Don't Do Probate?

If probate is necessary, but you do not initiate the process, then you will be unable to identify the assets of the deceased person and appropriate them the way Florida law requires. If you are in a situation where probate is needed, contact our firm for questions and legal assistance.

Why Call Our Probate Lawyers?

  • Free Consultations
  • Relationship-Based Legal Representation
  • Strong Work Ethic & a Proven Track Record
  • Genuine, Experienced & Compassionate Counsel

If you are facing competing claims during the administration of your loved one’s estate in probate court, we at Hedstrom Law, P.A. can help you. We have years of experience practicing probate law, including the administration, negotiation, and in some cases, litigation of claims in probate court. At Hedstrom Law, P.A., we are dedicated to providing our clients with sound and comprehensive legal advice regarding probate matters.

Call us at (386) 200-6547 or contact us online today to arrange a free initial case evaluation with an experienced Putnam County probate attorney.

Probate Proceedings

Probate proceedings are governed by the Florida Probate Rules. Proceedings begin when a petition for probate administration is filed with the probate court. Notice of the petition for probate administration is then sent to those who are qualified to serve as the personal representative for the decedent. 

How Long Does Probate Take in Florida?

In Florida, the probate process generally takes between 6 and 9 months. However, the length of probate varies depending on the size and complexity of the estate. For example, a simple summary probate can take a few months, while a formal probate administration can take 9-18 months. More complex probate cases can take up to 2 years, but this is rare.

The probate court will then appoint a personal representative to administer the decedent’s testamentary estate. Probate proceedings will advance into either formal administration or summary administration.

We have experience working on several probate issues including:

  • Formal probate administration
  • Summary probate administration
  • Appointment of representatives
  • Estate taxes
  • Interpretation of wills

Is Probate Necessary?

Generally, it may be necessary for the estate to go through probate. Unless you have a smaller estate, you may be able to go through a more informal process under the probate court's supervision before the assets and properties can be distributed appropriately. The probate process can also help mitigate any legal issues that arise.

Understanding the Probate Process in Florida

Probate can be a complex and overwhelming process, especially if you are unfamiliar with the laws and procedures in Florida. At Hedstrom Law, P.A., our experienced probate attorneys are here to guide you through every step of the process and provide compassionate representation during this difficult time.

Here is a brief overview of the probate process in Florida:

  1. Filing the Petition: The first step in probate is filing a petition with the court. This petition initiates the probate process and identifies the deceased person's assets and beneficiaries.
  2. Notifying Creditors: The court requires that all known creditors be notified of the probate proceedings. This allows them to make a claim against the estate if they believe they are owed money.
  3. Inventory and Appraisal: The personal representative of the estate is responsible for creating an inventory of the deceased person's assets and obtaining appraisals when necessary. This helps determine the value of the estate.
  4. Paying Debts and Taxes: Before any assets can be distributed to beneficiaries, the estate's debts and taxes must be paid. This includes funeral expenses, outstanding bills, and any estate or income taxes.
  5. Distributing Assets: Once all debts and taxes have been paid, the remaining assets can be distributed to the beneficiaries according to the terms of the will or Florida law.
  6. Closing the Estate: After all assets have been distributed and all necessary paperwork has been filed with the court, the estate can be officially closed.

Probate can be a lengthy and complicated process, but our team of skilled attorneys will work diligently to ensure that everything is handled efficiently and in accordance with the law.

What Assets Must Go Through Probate?

Nearly every person has some assets that don’t necessarily need to be settled in probate. Even if you do happen to go through probate court, it may very well be likely that some assets or properties will not be included during the proceeding. For those expected to inherit this property, they may receive this quicker than expected. All of this property is known as the probate estate.

Some of the most common assets that go through probate include:

  • Property owned by the deceased person -- some examples of this might be a car or some real estate
  • A portion of property owned -- such as a business investment

Some assets that may not require probate can include:

  • Life insurance
  • Pension plans
  • Any property in a living trust
  • Salary due to the person who has passed away
  • 401ks, IRAs, or another type of retirement savings account
  • Certain household items

Other assets that might be required to go through probate are bank accounts under the deceased's name, that have no beneficiary or co-owner, any real estate that was owned solely by that individual, and any real estate that is co-owned by tenants in common.

Compassionate Probate Representation for Putnam County Residents

At Hedstrom Law, P.A., we understand the emotional and practical challenges associated with the passing of a loved one. You shouldn’t have to go through the grieving process and probate proceedings alone. That is why we are dedicated to providing our clients with compassionate probate advice and advocacy, devoting proper attention to the unique circumstances of your case. You can count on us to provide you with comprehensive legal advice so you understand the metes and bounds of the legal issues implicated in your case. We are committed to working diligently toward finding a just resolution to your probate issues.

To consult with a qualified Putnam County probate lawyer, call us at (386) 200-6547 and schedule a free initial case review today.

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