When someone dies, all of their possessions, accounts, debts and assets become known as the decedent's estate. The process of settling debts and executing the wishes of the decedent according to their last will and testament is what’s known as the probate process.
Settling an estate through probate can be a straightforward process or a complicated one depending on the circumstances and complexity of the estate. Generally, the estate’s executor is the person tasked with handling the probate process, but a probate attorney in Miami can often be a valuable legal partner to have available in situations where an estate involves high-value assets or legal challenges and disputes.
There are several types of probate you may encounter in Florida, and which type applies to your unique situation will depend on a number of variables. Below are some of the most common types of probate in Florida:
Formal administration of probate takes place when a decedent’s estate is valued at over $75,000 and can take months to resolve. Formal administration also takes place when the decedent passed less than two years prior. During formal administration of probate, a personal representative (executor) for the decedent executes the decedent’s wishes according to any will that has been legally established prior to the decedent's passing.
This process is supervised by a probate judge, and it is a common type of probate in Miami and elsewhere in the United States. The executor is the party responsible for ensuring that assets are distributed to heirs and that debts are settled. Debts are settled using funds from the estate, meaning the executor does not assume the debts of the decedent unless there is joint ownership of these debts.
It should be noted that formal administration is also required in cases where a will is being contested. In such cases, it’s a good idea to work with a probate attorney in Miami to secure guidance and counsel. Probate cases involving a contested will can become complicated and result in litigation, particularly when large numbers of assets or large sums of money are involved.
Summary administration of probate in Florida is a type of probate in which the terms of a decedent’s will are not contested. An executor does not need to be named in summary administration probate cases, and the decedent may be deceased for more than two years. Summary administration also means that assets can be distributed directly to heirs, making it a speedier solution when applicable.
In cases where a decedent's estate is valued at less than $6,000, formal probate may not be needed in order to distribute the assets of the estate. A probate lawyer in Miami can provide guidance if you believe that a decedent’s estate qualifies for small estates probate.
In cases where no will has been established prior to a decedent’s passing, intestate succession probate may be used. Florida state law determines which heirs are entitled to which assets in intestate succession probate. These types of cases can often benefit from a probate attorney Miami residents trust because such cases may result in future litigation if someone believes that they did not receive assets to which they claim ownership.
A probate attorney helps in probate litigation cases where an executor runs into legal challenges when executing a will, but they also assist with other services related to probate and estates, including:
To learn more about how a probate attorney can help in your unique situation, you’re encouraged to schedule a consultation with a probate attorney from Gallardo Law Firm.
Depending on your circumstances, the probate process may simply involve the executor of the estate filing a petition for administration of the estate upon the decedent’s passing. From there, the executor contacts creditors, pays debts on behalf of the estate and distributes assets according to the terms established in the decedent’s will. The estate can then be closed and all legal obligations are generally considered fulfilled.
In more complex cases, a probate lawyer in Miami may need to file documents with a probate court and various entities. This will generally be the case when a will is contested or there are concerns about debts claimed against the estate. If a will is contested or claims are made to assets and accounts of the decedent, a probate attorney may need to represent the estate or executor in a Miami probate court during litigation to ensure that assets and accounts are distributed according to the decedent’s wishes.
Finding the right Miami probate attorney means looking for legal counsel that can protect the rights of heirs. Because the probate process can become complicated in complex cases involving large numbers of assets, a Miami probate attorney will need to have a deep understanding of Florida’s probate laws. This becomes all the more important during times when emotions are running high such as after the death of a loved one. Your probate lawyer can attend to the legal matters of your case so that you can focus on grieving and healing.
Trustworthy and Experienced Probate Attorneys – Contact Us for a Consultation
If you need the services of a probate attorney Miami residents turn to for legal guidance and counsel, the Gallardo Law Firm is available to assist you. Our probate attorneys represent the interests of heirs and estates to ensure that assets, accounts and debts are settled and closed according to the last wishes of those who have passed.
To schedule your confidential consultation with our probate attorneys, call (305) 261-7000, or use our Contact Form to schedule your consultation online.