Skilled Probate Lawyer Serving Perdido, FL
Probate is a court process where you’re actually going through and either filing as the person who passed away or as the beneficiary to validate a will or sort out and distribute the property known as the estate (money, property, and possessions). In order for you to legally gain control of assets from the estate, there must be a legal transfer of assets from the person who passed away to whoever the beneficiary is. At the end of the day, you need to go through this court process in order for the assets to be transferred into the names of those beneficiaries it rightfully belongs to. A Perdido probate lawyer has the knowledge to help you understand the probate process and what your responsibilities are.
Holding the responsibility of Being an Executor
If you’ve been appointed the executor of someone’s will, you’re responsible for carrying out probate, essentially gathering in the person’s assets and paying off any bills then distributing what’s left according to the will. You can either do it yourself or seek the help of a Perdido probate lawyer. If you decide to do it on your own, it usually costs between 3-5% of the estate. If you hire an attorney, you’ll have the necessary legal aid if you run into questions on things you can’t answer on your own. Though there are several ways to handle probate, here are four main stages to the process:
- Assess the total value of the estates and whether it’s liable for inheritance tax.
- Apply to the probate registry for a grant of probate and submit an inheritance tax form to the tax office.
- Pay any inheritance tax that is due and swear an oath at a solicitor’s office or probate registry.
- Administer the estate by gathering in assets, paying off any debts, and distributing what’s left according to the will.
Is there any reason I wouldn’t want to go through the probate process?
Probate is a public process in which notices are publicly sent out revealing information on the estate for creditors and other collectors to claim. You may not want nosy neighbors, business partners, disgruntled family, or really anyone outside of you to have access to the same public document determining who gets what. It can also be a fairly long process, between 6-12 months depending on how extensive your estate is. There will always be positive and negative aspects to procedures like this, the key is to be smart and have the legal help to answer your questions when they arise.
There are plenty of reasons why you would want to hire an attorney to assist you in the probate process. You will gain protection from the creditors who otherwise can make a claim on the assets before distribution. Also, there is some protection from taxation. When you shift income to an heir in the estate, you can reduce the taxes because the estate is its own entity or by keeping it in the estate longer if the estate tax bracket is lower than that of the heir. One more thing to consider is that drafting a will could be cheaper than legal counsel drafting a living will.
Protecting the interest of the Executor
When you are the executor for a deceased person, you have to understand that most of your personal interests are on the line if you happen to make a mistake which could result in large losses for the beneficiaries. You may have disgruntled heirs trying to sue you but a probate attorney can help you make sound decisions that highly reduce the risk of mistakes and loss of assets in regards to the estate.
Let our Perdido Probate Lawyer Represent You
When you read chapters 7:31 and 7:35 in the Florida statutes regarding probate procedures, these codes can be pretty overwhelming, so you will need an attorney to help guide you through those laws. If you have a loved one who has passed away and you need legal assistance, give our office a call and our Perdido probate lawyers will be able to help you. At Moorhead Law Group, our probate attorneys will have your back and help guide you through the entire process, so contact us today.