How a Florida Probate Court Attorney Provides Essential Legal Services

Benjamin Franklin coined the phrase regarding "death and taxes," but forgot to add "Probate Court."

Often attributed to Benjamin Franklin, it is stated that nothing is certain in life but death and taxes. The rather finality and inevitably of both is apparent and can be quite negative. That doesn’t mean that one should expect an unkind and wearisome tax accountant or probate court attorney. On the contrary, providing the sincere qualities essential to make a connection with clients is one of the strong suits of the attorneys and staff at Bret Jones, P.A. Our dedicated Florida probate court attorney team ensures that the matters that may arise in court are already considered. Execution of our client’s desires and best interests are always on the top of our lists.

Do I Really Need a Probate Court Attorney in Florida?

Many people believe in the “Google Age” that they themselves can undertake legal or other services that usually require an expert or licensed person. Of course, there is nothing bad about having a “can-do” attitude, however believing that you have requisite knowledge and experience to comprehend what someone has studied for years is completely different.

They say that the smartest people in the world realize it is impossible to know everything, and something positive can be said about those individuals who recognize they need help. More often than not many individuals get themselves into a mountain of trouble by assuming a few hours researching on Google enables them to practice law.

“I don’t need a probate court attorney. I can research everything on Google,” is the kind of thinking that can cause damage that a copious amount of time and money will likely have to fix in the end.

What Can a Probate Court Attorney Do for Me?

An untrained person attempting to do what a Florida probate court attorney does is a recipe for disaster.

A probate court attorney assists in the sometimes difficult court processes that can permeate probate law and its proceedings. To attempt to understand the idiosyncrasies that encompass probate, or the legal field in general, can be daunting. If you or someone you know is a personal representative of an estate, you will likely need legal representation. As a matter of fact, many people are unaware of the Florida Probate Rules. According to the Florida Probate Rule 5.030, “Every personal representative, unless the personal representative remains the sole interested person, shall be represented by an attorney admitted to practice in the State of Florida.” This means that unless a personal representative is the sole interested person they “shall” or in other words, “must” be represented by an attorney.

There is not a “may” but a “shall” particularly stated in the language of the Florida Probate Rules. A major distinction in most statutes and rules is the actual language. Of course, the spirit of the law may also be taken into consideration from time to time, but first and foremost, the actual language of a statute or rule is paramount. The idiosyncrasies of law are many, and that is why individuals who choose to “Google” as there guide rather hire an attorney can create problems for themselves and others.

What is a Personal Representative?

A personal representative is a person that is in charge of administering a decedent’s, or deceased person’s, probate estate. In other states, novels, or newspaper articles, you may have heard the term ancillary administrator, executor, executrix, administratrix, and more. In Florida, we call this position “personal representative.”

What Does a Personal Representative Do?

Florida Statutes 733.601-733.620 specify the “Duties and Powers of Personal Representative”. As you can imagine, a personal representative in the State of Florida has quite a few responsibilities. As a matter of fact, Chapter 733 of the Florida Statutes is titled, “Probate Code: Administration of Estates,” and is divided into eight parts. Three of these parts of the Probate Code specifically mention Personal Representatives in the title.

These include: “Preference in Appointment and Qualifications of Personal Representative”, “Curators; Resignation, and Removal of Personal Representatives”, and as mentioned above, “Duties and Powers of Personal Representative.” Ensuring compliance with the above Florida Statutes is no easy task. Unless you are a licensed attorney, the sheer magnitude of the appointment as a personal representative may be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be.

How Does One Become a Personal Representative?

Becoming a Personal Representative is outlined in Florida Statutes.

On another note, how does one become a personal representative? How is a personal representative appointed? What about the will of the deceased person? A personal representative may have been specified in the will of a deceased person, also known as the decedent. Alternatively, a judge may appoint a personal representative of a decedent’s estate. A personal representative may not only be an actual person but may be a trust company or bank as well.

As stated above, Part III of Chapter 733 of the Florida Statutes is specifically titled, “Preference in Appointment and Qualifications of Personal Representative”. Here, the Florida statutes detail who can be appointed a personal representative, persons who are not qualified to be a personal representative, and more. Although all of the information is provided online, a qualified attorney can help sort through the relevant portions, and provide the essential case law knowledge that is needed.

It is important to note that every client, every person, has a unique story or set of facts.  Often time these facts may play a large part in the probate administration process and a probate court attorney provides an essential resource.

At Bret Jones, P.A., our attorneys and staff are profoundly keen to unmask the hidden difficulties that may arise in probate court. A Florida probate court attorney from Bret Jones, P.A. will not only assist a personal representative with care and consideration but provide sincere legal advice. At the firm of Bret Jones, P.A., we believe honest and thorough legal counseling is a priority. Nothing great ever comes from hiding the ball or speaking in vague legalese with clients. At our firm, you can rest assured our quality attorneys and staff will guide you step-by-step through the legal process while maintaining a considerate and straightforward approach to helping you achieve your goals.

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