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  • Ryan J. Smollar

South Florida Probate Attorney

If you’ve recently lost a loved one and you’re now facing the probate process, you may be overwhelmed. Probate can be fairly tricky, particularly when it comes to taxes and even navigating relationships within your own family.



Fortunately, though, you don’t have to do this alone. At Elder Law, our probate lawyers have the resources to represent those involved in the estate, and whether you’re just trying to figure out what to do next or you’re dealing with quite a bit of family conflict after the death of a loved one, we can help.


What Is Probate?

Probate is essentially the legal process that happens after a person dies. During probate, the person’s assets are identified and assessed, their debts are paid, and the remaining amount is given to the beneficiaries. The probate process is supervised by a court judge and administered by a personal representative. That can be a person, bank, or trust company appointed by the judge.


In most cases, probate administration in Florida requires representation by a licensed Florida probate lawyer like those at Elder Law. Here, we’re committed to helping families with all of their probate administration needs. We’ve worked with hundreds of clients to help protect the assets involved, and over the past three decades, we’ve provided probate legal services throughout South Florida.


When is Probate Needed?

Not every asset left behind after death will need to go through the probate process. For example, property held in a trust does not go through probate, nor do life insurance proceeds, retirement account, or funds payable-on-death in a bank account. Instead, only assets left that were solely in the decedent’s name will need to go through the probate process. Any other assets that were co-owned and did not have a provision for automatic succession upon death will also need probate administration.


It’s here where things get really complex. During probate, you’re going to want the services of probate law because there are a number of legal steps that need to be taken to ensure efficient management. At Elder Law, our probate administration attorneys are well versed in the challenges ahead of you. We’re here to help you navigate the often challenging maze of requirements in court. Our highly knowledgeable team offers resources to individuals like you, and we work to make the probate process as painless as possible.


Why Is Probate Important?

Probate is exercised to manage the decedent’s estate and finalize any financial affairs. This includes paying the costs of the probate process, the decedent’s funeral expenses, any outstanding debts the decedent has, and then disbursing the remainder to the beneficiaries.


It’s essentially a way to determine the validity of a will, and ensure there are no outstanding debts against the estate to help safeguard the assets that are left. It’s also a good way to help close out the estate.


If you’re like many people, you’d probably rather avoid the probate process because it can be so lengthy, but it’s often a necessary step. Fortunately, South Florida probate attorneys like those at Elder Law can help you throughout the process.


How Does The Probate Process Work?

There are a number of things that need to happen immediately after a person has died. Step one is to contact a probate attorney who can help. From there, the custodian of the will has to file an original copy of the will with the clerk of the courts within ten days.


The clerk then creates a file number and keeps an ongoing file of the documentation necessary to move forward. A probate lawyer walks you through those steps, filing all of the necessary paperwork, arranging the required services, and accompanying you to any required court appearances.


If the decedent did not have a will, this is considered “intestate.” Although a person may have died intestate, their assets will not automatically go to the state. The assets will be distributed to the deceased person’s heirs according to the Florida intestate statute. In these cases, probate lawyers are an absolute must, as they can help you with the necessary paperwork to help identify what should happen next. The intestate statute helps to spell out what should go where, but it can be helpful to have an attorney on your side during this process.


Don’t Navigate Probate Administration Without An Attorney

If you need to navigate probate, call the experienced probate attorneys at Elder Law. We’ll help you begin the process, explain the entire concept and your role, and help you make an informed decision about how to move forward.


Our knowledge, experience, and compassion set us apart. If you need probate help now, contact a Palm Beach County probate attorney you can trust. Contact Elder Law now.

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301 East Ocean Avenue, Ste. 2
Lantana, FL 33462
(561) 588-7512
(561) 588-5609
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