West Palm Beach, FL Probate Attorney

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If you are mourning the recent passing of a family member, you may be feeling completely overwhelmed by the grief you are experiencing; you also may be feeling completely overwhelmed by the task before you of settling their legal and financial affairs. At Elder Law, P.A., we understand how complicated navigating death and the probate process can be, and we’re so sorry for your loss. 

Probate, a Florida court ordeal that may have to take place before your loved one’s assets can be distributed to their beneficiaries, can be burdensome at such a difficult time. Our compassionate West Palm Beach probate attorney is here to guide you every step of the way to a resolution so you can begin moving forward with your life. Call today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about your next steps.

What Is Probate?

Probate is a way for the court to make sure that not just anyone can lay claim to a deceased person’s assets – they have to go to the right people, either according to the terms of the deceased person’s will or according to Florida intestate laws (which usually distributes assets to the closest living relative/s.) There are a series of steps that the executor of the estate will need to follow in order to make sure that debts and taxes are paid and that money remaining is given to the correct heirs! 

Why Is Probate So Difficult?

Probate isn’t designed to be so tedious, but it is by nature; it is confusing, time-consuming, and expensive when you consider all the court fees and other fees associated with executing a will/estate involved (such as appraisal fees and accounting fees, etc.). There is a ton of paperwork involved. Depending on the size of the estate, complexity of assets, and the number of beneficiaries, it could take anywhere from six months to several years to complete. 

There are also additional complications that can arise during the process. If family members disagree about how assets are being distributed or about how other decisions are being made, conflict can arise; sometimes, this can lead to full-out court battles. Creditors may also make claims against the estate and file a lawsuit. 

When you’re dealing with death, legal stress – whether it involves lawsuits or not – is the last thing you need on your plate. That’s why our West Palm Beach probate attorney can be so helpful to you; he can take stress off you and handle all of the legalities!

What Are Your Responsibilities In Probate?

Every probate case is different, but generally, if you are named as the executor or personal representative in charge of overseeing the process, your legal duties include:

  • Submitting the will and death certificate to the court
  • Filing a petition to open probate
  • Communicating with the court
  • Collecting and caring for the decedent’s assets
  • Inventorying and appraising those assets
  • Negotiating with creditors to settle debts
  • Filing final tax returns and paying any outstanding taxes
  • Distributing assets to heirs 
  • Paying court fees 
  • Formally closing probate
  • And more. 

Why Should You Work With Our West Palm Beach Probate Attorney?

You shouldn’t have to handle probate on your own. Elder Law, P.A., is familiar with the often challenging maze of court requirements after someone passes away, and our highly knowledgeable team works with you to make the probate process as painless as possible. We’ll help you understand your options (including whether probate can be simplified or bypassed entirely!) and answer all of your questions. Attorney Ryan Jay Smollar has over 10 years of experience assisting executors, and he can prevent you from making costly mistakes as well as make a difference in your overall experience! Book your free consultation today. 

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West Palm Beach, FL Practice Areas

Natalie was amazing handling my dads medicaid application process, easy to communicate and we found the process very straight forward with their guidance. We would highly recommend their services to everyone who is in need of elder law, with our family all working full time and busy lives they gave us a peace of mind knowing they were working on getting things done.

Giovana H.

Ryan really cares about his clients, and it shows in the way that he advises them. He is extremely knowledgeable about elder law, and explains the rules in a clear manner. The issues can be difficult on family members to discuss, and he handles the material in a compassionate manner.

Joseph M.

Elder Law, P.A.

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