When you hire a lawyer to assist you in probate matters, you look for someone who has legal expertise in probate. More precisely, when looking for a lawyer, you are in fact searching for a counselor at law. Any time you speak with a lawyer, it is easy to forget that lawyers are counselors at law. Therefore, a large part of your experience with a lawyer should include the actual act of counseling of the law. The difference between a counselor who listens and a counselor who only speaks is a powerful one. This is the same for lawyers or counselors at law. Lawyers must possess a fine balance between speaking and listening to clients. Being fully apprised of a set of facts is only possible through listening; however, receiving quality legal assistance is necessary through the speaking of a lawyer.


As a result, finding a probate lawyer near me who can explain probate requires a lawyer who offers a fine balance. You may wonder what types of legal concerns you may face regarding probate. Many people do not understand the concept of probate, or what it means. That is why many search online for a probate lawyer near me. At the law office of Bret Jones, P.A. our aim is to provide each of our clients with quality representation that encourages a great relationship between the lawyer and client. As counselors at law, we know that understanding not only the law, but our clients is paramount to excellent representation.


What is Probate Administration?


After a person passes away their assets or things must be distributed. For many people, a will immediately come to mind. However, there is far more to probate than just the reading of a will. Not only must a person’s assets be distributed upon their death, but their debts must be satisfied as well. This means that the decedent or deceased person’s assets must be collected and identified. A decedent is the legal terminology that is used to describe a deceased person or a person who has passed away. The two types of probate administration in Florida are formal administration and summary administration. Both of these types of probate administrations are court-supervised. In limited circumstances, there is a type of administration that is non-court supervised.


This type of administration is referred to as the “Disposition of Personal Property without Administration.” The purpose of probate administration is to deal with probate assets of a decedent. Once someone has passed, their personal representative will file probate. Depending on where the deceased person, or decedent, lived at the time of their passing will determine where their representative will file probate. There will likely be a filing fee with the clerk of court. For the probate administration of the decedent, all paperwork filed with the clerk of court will be kept on file and recorded.


The Florida Rules of Probate


When you look for a “probate lawyer near me,” make sure they will reference the Florida Rules of Probate when researching and checking the probate administration procedures. All rules detailing various legal procedures in probate will be addressed in the Florida Rules of Probate. According to the Rule 5.010 of the Florida Rules of Probate, which addresses the scope of the rules, stating: “these rules govern the procedure in probate and all guardianship proceedings?” However, when determining which type of administration to utilize based on the facts of each case, a probate lawyer will review Florida Statutes Chapter 735.


The Two Common Types of Probate Administration: Formal Administration and Summary Administration


Formal administration is the most common type of probate administration. Often times, when you are reading or hearing about probate administration, it will be regarding formal administration. However, summary administration is another form of probate administration. According to Florida Statute Chapter 735: Probate Code: Small Estates Part I, summary administration may be utilized if a decedent has had no administration and the decedent passed away more than two years prior. However, those who choose summary administration may face potential liability for two years after the death of the decedent. Specifically, individuals who receive assets from the estate of the decedent may be liable for claims against the decedent. Alternatively, summary administration may be used if the following other factors are present as well: the creditors of the decedent do not object to summary administration, all debts of the decedent have been satisfied, and lastly, the value of the probated estate does not equal more than $75,000.00.


Probate Administration in Limited Circumstances: the Disposition of Personal Property without Administration


Besides formal administration and summary administration, there is the possibility of the disposition of personal property without administration. This type of probate administration occurs in limited circumstances. Florida Statute Chapter 735: Probate Code: Small Estates Part II states that in order for there to be disposition without administration or for no formal proceedings, there must only be personal property in the estate of the decedent. Furthermore, this personal property must be exempt from any requirements of Florida Statute 732.402. Once those two prongs have been established, the personal property must not be subject to claims of creditors according to the Florida Constitution, or the remainder must be nonexempt personal property. The value of the nonexempt personal property cannot be greater than the amount of medical and hospital expenses which were during the last 60 days for the last illness plus the cost of preferred funeral expenses.


For more information on what would be the best way to proceed with the administration of a probate estate, it is recommended to look for and consult with a qualified “probate lawyer near me.” At Bret Jones, P.A. we understand the importance of explaining the process of probate and probate administration in a clear and succinct fashion. At Bret Jones, P.A. our lawyers remember the importance of being counselors at law, and how the equal balance of listening and speaking with clients is essential for success. Contact the law office of Bret Jones, P.A. when searching for a “probate lawyer near me.”


Meta: How to find a “probate lawyer near me” that provides quality legal assistance. Contact Bret Jones, P.A. for all you probate legal concerns.