Fort Lauderdale Probate Lawyer Providing Help Through Knowledge & Guidance
When someone passes away, a legal procedure known as probate may be required. Probate completes and settles the decedent’s financial affairs. If you need the help of a probate attorney in South Florida, Fort Lauderdale probate attorney Marc Brown can assist you with all matters related to the probate process. Marc Brown, P.A. is an experienced probate law firm dedicated to assisting clients with the full range of probate and estate planning issues.
The probate process can be detailed and intricate, and you need an attorney that can work to minimize or eliminate the financial cost and emotional toll of probate and help you through every step of what may seem like an overwhelming undertaking.
What Does Probate Accomplish?
Probate is an administrative court proceeding that is activated when someone dies. There are often different levels of probate, but probate is an actual court process in which the deceased’s will is presented to the courts. There are often witnesses required and crucial decisions made that could impact everyone involved.
One essential, basic goal of probate is to authenticate a will if the deceased made one. The process also determines the value of the person’s assets, addresses their final bills and taxes, and distributes the remainder of the estate to beneficiaries. The probate process can include gathering and filing relevant paperwork like death certificates and wills and getting all the necessary materials to the court.
A significant point of the probate process is to make sure that after someone passes away, the estate does not retain any income, assets, or properties that are owed to another party. If probate is not directly addressed and factored into an estate plan, it can add months – and in some cases, more than a year – to the process of finalizing an estate, but an experienced probate attorney can help if you are currently involved or about to be involved in the probate process.
How Does Probate Work?
Not everything that someone owns is necessarily a part of that person’s legal estate. Jointly held items, such as real estate and bank accounts, become the sole possession of the other owners. Under Florida law, probate assets include but are not necessarily limited to:
- Bank accounts or investment accounts that are in the name of the decedent only.
- Life insurance, annuity contracts, or individual retirement accounts payable to the decedent’s estate.
- Except for homestead property, real estate titled exclusively in the name of the decedent.
A probate court is a court that deals with the legal aspects of a person’s estate after that person’s death. In a typical probate procedure, the court supervises as the designated personal representative of the estate identifies and gathers the decedent’s assets, pays that person’s taxes and debts, and distributes what remains to those inheriting it.
The personal representative must then file a final plan which shows the probate court what the estate held, how the assets have been handled, and who will receive what. Anyone with an objection may raise it with the court at that time. When the estate’s assets have been distributed, the personal representative submits the final paperwork and receipts to the probate court and asks the court to close the estate. The process usually takes six to twelve months, but can take longer, especially if you don’t have an estate planning attorney.
Do I Really Need to Hire a Probate Lawyer?
The probate process can be quite costly and time-consuming. The details involved in assessing the deceased’s estate may substantially delay the distribution of property and assets to designated beneficiaries. Working with an attorney who is familiar with all the elements involved in the process of probate will help ensure no mistakes are made, no deadlines are missed, and all options are exhausted in every circumstance that could arise during the process.
Probate is paperwork-intensive and driven by unmovable deadlines. Those going through the probate process can benefit from the guidance and involvement of an experienced probate attorney who can allow loved ones to focus on the greaving process instead of the probate process. Our firm hopes to offer some peace-of-mind during an otherwise difficult time.
Attorney Marc Brown Can Guide You Through the Probate Process
Probate can seem like an overwhelming burden. No two circumstances are alike. Everyone has different types of assets and different needs. The sum of assets, the size of the family, whether or not a business is involved, and a number of other factors will dictate the details of your case.
Fort Lauderdale probate attorney Marc Brown can help you navigate any probate issue no matter how unique or challenging, but every probate case, even those that seem straightforward, still benefit from compassionate legal assistance.
At Marc Brown, P.A., our law firm is dedicated to providing sound probate and estate planning advice backed by years of experience. We work closely with clients to ensure that instructions are honored, legacies are preserved, and loved ones are able to move forward positively and constructively after a loss.
If you have a probate issue, or if you would simply like to learn more, contact the law firm of Marc Brown, P.A. We are prepared and motivated to help you and your family.