Experienced Probate Attorney Fighting for Those Living in Fort Walton Beach, FL
We all know that the time will come when our loved ones or someone close to us will pass away. When this happens, it is necessary to be prepared to go through their assets, money, property, see if they have a will or trust, and any other estate items needing to be distributed to the rightful beneficiaries or heirs. Seeking the help of a Fort Walton Beach probate lawyer is a good idea for guidance in the legal process of probate.
If there is a specific individual who is ready to take on these important tasks, the probate process begins, whereby the court determines to whom the estate items pass and what bills or debts need to be paid. Being that these tasks can be daunting at times, a Fort Walton Beach probate lawyer is here to help in the legal process.
Probate is essentially a process to “prove” the estate and will rightfully belong to those who are entitled to it. It will also prove who the creditors are, whose accounts belong to who, and resolve any objections that may be filed from heirs who contest or dispute the items in the estate. Once a personal representative or executor is chosen, they will be the sole person who will handle all these items.
How is a Will Probated?
As an executor on the estate, you must first prove that the will is in fact the last will and testament of the decedent. The court will need proof of this. There are several ways to handle proving a will to be true.
- Formal Will: This is done when two individuals are present when the decedent signs the will and they act as witnesses. The person signing declares to the witnesses that the document is the final will and testament.
- “Holographic will”: It is handwritten, signed, dated, and an entirely written document that is then looked at by someone familiar with the descendants writing to prove that it’s in fact true. There are no present witnesses and this is secondary to a lawyer’s will.
Is Probate Really Necessary?
Let’s say a person dies and there is an asset in their name and not in a trust. The Florida court would have to name someone as the executor or personal representative to take control over the asset and then divey the assets to those who rightfully deserve it. If a personal representative is not chosen, the title will remain in the decedent’s name, and either the state collects it because of outstanding debts that needed to be paid and were not or no one has any authority over the estate and it cannot be sold or otherwise transferred and dealt with.
What is the main role of a Probate Attorney?
If you do not do so yourself, a Fort Walton Beach probate lawyer will file the probate petition and help get a personal representative appointed to handle the estate of the deceased. There may be a will contested in which they decide who becomes executor. An attorney also will deal with claims from creditors and give notice to them, heirs, beneficiaries, and others who may be entitled to get notice of the probate.
Once the hard work is done and debtors, creditors, or other bills are paid off, the attorney then files a petition for the final distribution of the estate assets. This is done by having the lawyer ask the court for an authorization order to distribute the property to its rightful heir according to the terms in the will. Some non-probate items can come up like life insurance and annuity payments, at which time the attorney can handle it.
Let our Fort Walton Beach Probate Attorney Help you!
Probate law can be complex and demand many different difficult scenarios. Our Fort Walton Beach probate lawyer knows how to handle the legal probate process. We have the skilled, professional experience needed when your loved one passes and you are not sure what to do. Contact us today and we can discuss what your options are.