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 probate lawyer, you are in fact searching for a counselor at law. What exactly does “counselor at law” mean? The actual act of counseling, when regarding the law, is performed by one who listens. If a lawyer primarily does all the speaking, it is doubtful much counseling of value is being conveyed to a client. This is a powerful truth and one that is overlooked by many who seek real help. Lawyers must possess an effective balance between speaking and listening to clients. A client who becomes fully apprised of legal options or customary practices is only produced by patient and careful listening. Ultimately, a lawyer who has listened well may be well-prepared to provide quality legal assistance.
As a result, when searching for a “probate lawyer near me,” look for one who can explain probate details after listening to the particulars of your situation. 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 involves. That is why many clients begin by searching 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 both the law and 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 a legal term 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. A representative will file probate where the deceased person or decedent lived at the time of their passing. There will likely be a filing fee with the clerk of court. All paperwork filed with the clerk of court will be kept on file and recorded for the probate administration of the decedent.
The Florida Rules of Probate
When you look for a probate lawyer, make sure the attorney will reference the Florida Rules of Probate. They need to do this 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 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
- 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 during the last 60 days for the last illness, plus the cost of preferred funeral expenses.
The Probate Lawyer You Can Trust
For more information on what would be the best way to proceed with the administration of a probate estate, consult with a qualified probate lawyer. 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. We understand 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.”