Many people worry about probate court but don’t really know what probate means. An experienced Florida probate attorney can explain why it can be a problem and how to avoid it. Unless you have an estate plan that uses trusts, POD, TOD, or joint ownership of assets to avoid probate proceedings, your family must administrator your will or estate through probate.
The person possessing the will must present it to the appropriate probate court.
The executor named in the will must administer the estate.
If there is no will, Lake County probate court appoints an administrator to represent the estate. During probate, the will is validated, and an administrator must pay all debts and distribute the remaining assets to the named heirs.
Why Many People Choose to Avoid Probate
Probate is a legal system that oversees how wills and estates are handled. The downsides of having the court control the process are listed below:
- A Lack of Privacy – Probate cases are filed in court, and the details of your estate settlement are in the public record.
- Family Disagreements – People with complicated family dynamics, unpopular second marriages, or estranged loved ones may want to avoid probate to avoid will contests.
- Time Consuming – Probate can be time-consuming. Probate in Florida averages about six to nine months, or possibly longer, dependent upon the size of the estate.
- Costly Court Process – Since the process requires court appearances and extensive paperwork, the legal fees can mount up quickly.
The Mazenko Law Firm can help you file the necessary paperwork and complete the estate settlement process quickly and efficiently. We answer questions and address any concerns you have along the way. If you are overwhelmed by the process of probating a will or estate, we can help. We navigate the process for you carefully and efficiently to try and avoid family conflicts during an emotional time.
The Probate Process
A number of steps must be taken between death and the distribution of assets. Our firm can help you with the following:
- Filing a petition with the appropriate probate court
- Notifying beneficiaries, heirs, and creditors of the estate administration
- Appointing the executor or administrator
- Inventorying and appraising estate assets
- Reviewing claims filed by creditors
- Paying approved claims
- Selling assets if the estate lacks liquidity
- Preparing and paying estate taxes
- Distributing assets to beneficiaries and/or heirs
If you’re facing probate, you don’t have to go through it alone. If you have concerns about leaving family members to navigate probate court proceedings in the future, we can also review your current estate plan and find ways to avoid it.
Attorney Todd Mazenko is the owner and founder of the Mazenko Law Firm located in Mount Dora, Florida, in Lake County. His law practice focuses on estate planning, including wills, trusts, and probate, and he speaks throughout central Florida on these topics.
If you need a Florida probate attorney, the experienced team at Mazenko Law Firm can help. Subscribe to our newsletter or sign up for upcoming events that share valuable estate planning information.
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1502 North Donnelly Street
Mount Dora, Florida 32757
Phone: (352) 565-7737
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