Attorney Performing Professional Probate and Trust Administration Services in Clearwater, Largo and St. Petersburg
Elder Law attorney helps executors and trustees administer legacies
The most carefully crafted estate plan is of little use unless it is properly drafted and executed, and this is where probate attorneys do their best work. Probate and administration do not have to be expensive and time-consuming; in many cases, the attorney who drafted the documents may be the same attorney who administers the estate.
Susan Charles has been named as a Florida Super Lawyer's Rising Star in estate planning matters. She pours all her training and experience into each case at The Charles Law Offices. Because each case is different, each case demands personal attention.
What do I need to know when someone dies in Florida?
When a loved one dies, the legal ramifications of that incident may be the furthest thing from your mind, and understandably so. The most important thing to remember is to keep family matters inside the family. Contact as many family members as possible; those who have some interest in the estate are a special priority. Creditors may call, asking to be paid what they claim they are owed. Refer all such calls to an attorney.
What is trust administration?
Trust administration is the duty of the trustee to carry out the terms of the trust. Such duties may include asset management, distributions of money or assets, paying debts and taxes, and many other tasks. Grantors (the people who create trusts) often name themselves as trustees, at least initially. A trust should also name a successor trustee or succession of trustees to administer the terms of the trust in the event of the initial trustee’s incapacity or death. Most often, a trustee is either a trusted and capable family member or a highly qualified and objective professional like Susan Charles.
What is the probate process in Florida?
Probate is the process of validating and executing the will and other testamentary documents. Florida is a Uniform Probate Code (UPC) state, meaning that key components of the UPC have been incorporated into Chapters 731 through 735 of the Florida Statutes (the probate code), to wit:
- A probate asset is any asset that was either wholly owned by the decedent or jointly-owned without any right of survivorship.
- After determining whether the will is valid, the judge gives the personal representative — the executor — the authority to distribute the assets in the estate according to the will.
- After the personal representative distributes assets and pays creditors, the judge closes the estate.
The entire probate process usually takes at least 12 months, although will contests and other legal hurdles are not unusual and may be very time-consuming. Whether you are in Florida or out of state, The Charles Law Offices can handle all probate matters.
What is intestacy?
If a person dies without a legal will, the person is said to have died intestate. Even if there is no will, assets must still be distributed. Florida law is very specific about who inherits in an intestacy proceeding, and The Charles Law Offices has served as both attorney and personal representative in many intestacy proceedings. We know the law.
Does a personal representative or trustee need an attorney?
Florida law requires a personal representative to be represented by an attorney in formal probate estates, that is, those exceeding $75,000 in value.
By the way, a probate attorney may also serve as a personal representative (or a trustee, for that matter). This may prove invaluable when you:
- Reside in another state, or in a distant part of Florida.
- Do not feel qualified to be the administrator, due to the complexity of the estate.
- Anticipate a will contest or some other litigation.
- Are busy managing your own life.
- Are unprepared to serve, because you were named as an alternate personal representative or successor trustee.
In fact, we often take the burden from executors and trustees living in such far-off places as New York or California, who ordinarily might have to fly to Florida several times to probate a will, by acting as their representative and handling every aspect of the Florida probate process.
Work with a probate and trust administration attorney who respects your privacy
At The Charles Law Offices, all aspects of your interactions with us are kept strictly confidential. We do not tell anyone that you even came to see us, much less the subjects we discussed. Contact The Charles Law Offices at 727-683-1483 or online to schedule your free consultation.