When probate estate matters come into play, nothing should be taken lightly. Although the future may be far away, as Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.” This can be said for many things, including probate estate matters. Consult with one of the probate attorneys at Bret Jones, P.A. about any probate estate questions that you may have.
In the age of online legal resources, it is apparent that these online resources lack the face-to-face interaction, particularly with attorneys. The face-to-face understanding between client and attorney cannot be replaced by automatic systems or robots, no matter how revolutionized legal software becomes. Nothing replaces the importance of individualized attention. and one of the many benefits of hiring an attorney rather than utilizing an online system is the service you will receive.
Although there are legal resources online that many individuals peruse to get a look at legal information, nothing compares to meeting one-on-one with an actual attorney. The technological revolution that we are witnessing firsthand is a blessing in many ways. Yet something can be said about human interaction–which computer software and the internet can never replace.
Responsibilities of a Personal Representative: Understanding Creditor’s Claims and How to Notify Creditors
A major issue in probate administration is the satisfaction of a creditor’s claim. Florida Statute Chapter 733 Part VII, deals with creditor’s claims during the probate administration. Often times, many individuals become confused regarding the satisfaction of such claims, and what is required to adequately notify any creditors of the decedent’s estate.
Florida Statute 733.701 states that the personal representative must notify the creditors as required by Florida Statute 733.2121. Florida Statute 733.2121, titled Notice to Creditors, specifically states the requirements of such notification to creditors.
A notice must be published once a week for two consecutive weeks in a newspaper that is available in the county where the estate is administered, or in an actual newspaper that is published in that county. The notice must state the name of the decedent, the name and address of the personal representative, the personal representative attorney, and more. In addition to the publication via newspaper, the personal representative of a decedent’s estate also has a duty to diligently search for the creditors.
Although the statute further explains what is required for a reasonable search for creditors, the emphasis is on the fact that the search need only be reasonable, not impractical.
The responsibilities placed upon the personal representative of a decedent’s estate may appear tedious and burdensome. However, with the assistance of an attorney with the administration of a probate estate, the load can be lightened. There are less likely to be mistakes or accidental omissions if an attorney is available to assist a personal representative in the proper notification of any creditors.
Furthermore, a personal representative of an estate is likely to have various legal questions pertaining to the administration of the estate, including the distribution of funds to satisfy any creditor’s claims. Alternatively, an individual may decide that it is in the best interests of the estate to have an attorney as the personal representative of the estate.
Probate Attorney’s Fees as the Attorney of the Personal Representative
A practical discussion in any legal matter between an attorney and their client is legal fees. Some attorney’s fees are suggested rates by the State of Florida, and these suggested rates are specified in the Florida Statutes. One prime example is probate attorney’s fees when a Florida probate attorney is the attorney of the personal representative of an estate. In this case, there are fee schedules that are suggested by Florida Statute 733.6171. This statute provides that compensation for attorney services may be agreed to in a different manner than what is provided by in the statute, as long as it is not contrary to any rules set forth in the Florida Probate Code, and there is no objection according to the Florida Probate Rules. For instance, an attorney may agree to a flat rate for a service.
The fee schedule provided in the statute is for ordinary services. However, there are circumstances or services by an attorney that may be deemed extraordinary. If there are services that are found to be extraordinary, then an attorney may be allowed additional compensation for such services. For example, the size of the estate may be a contributing factor in determining whether or not an extraordinary service exists.
Some of the extraordinary services provided by probate attorneys that may allow for additional compensation include adversarial proceeding or litigation against the estate, a contested claim, a will contest, and more. Other services that may be considered extraordinary include sale of real property and legal advice regarding the status of real property as homestead to name a few. The Florida Statutes are detailed regarding probate estate matters.
Choosing Probate Attorneys for All Your Probate Questions
The law regarding probate estate matters is multifaceted. The probate code may appear to be elusive and overwhelming. In Florida, acting as a personal representative is a detailed endeavor. Furthermore, establishing who will act as the personal representative of your estate is a big decision. Given the various aspects of a probate estate that must be considered, it is easier to see the benefit of hiring a probate attorney to assist you with the legal concerns or questions you may have. An automated system or software program cannot offer what a face-to-face human interaction can.
Probate estate matters shouldn’t be treated lightly, and you deserve to be fully apprised of the decisions and actions you are making. At Bret Jones, P.A, our aim is to ensure that each of our clients are not only fully informed, but treated with the dignity that they deserve. The probate attorneys at Bret Jones, P.A. understand that getting your probate estate matters in order is something that requires special attention, which we believe everyone deserves.