The loss of a loved one can be stressful and traumatic time for a family and often leads to confusion and frustration when it comes time to address the assets of the one who has passed. The process of distributing those assets is not an easy task, especially when you are addressing your own grief and trying to continue your life.
Mr. Gwaltney and his staff are dedicated to serving the needs of his clients with compassion, patience and understanding throughout the legal process and beyond. If you or your family member find yourself in the situation of probating the estate of a loved one, call our office for a consultation. Whether there is a will or not, the probate process will usually be required to allow the surviving family members to conduct any business on behalf of the deceased, access bank accounts/records, resolve outstanding debt, distribute property and other assets.
Whatever your probate needs or questions are, our staff can assist you. Below are some common questions we receive, together with their answers
Q. I have a will from another state, If I die will it be recognized in Florida?
The answer is, Maybe. It could depend on many factors. It would be best if you contact an attorney to properly answer the question.
Q. Do I need an attorney to go through probate in Florida?
Florida law requires an attorney in the probate proceeding unless the personal representative is the sole interested party. Unfortunately, most non-lawyers would have a very difficult time knowing how to proceed without an attorney.
Q. How long should I expect the probate process to take?
Summary Administrations may be completed in as little as 4-8 weeks. Formal Administrations, when no estate taxes are due, take considerably longer, with 4-6 months being an average.
Many factors could lengthen the process, including out of state wills which do not meet the requirements for probate in Florida, either due to insufficient execution at the time of drafting or because the format (e.g., a holographic will) does not comply with Florida law.
Q. Do I need to hire an attorney whose office is in the same city or county as the decedent?
Not necessarily. If a hearing is required by the court, many times an appearance by phone will be allowed.
Q. If there is a surviving spouse, is it necessary to go through probate?
Yes, if the deceased owned any assets which were solely in their name only.
Q. What if there is no will?
If the decedent passed away without a properly executed Last Will and Testament, Florida Statue 732 provides for the distribution of the deceased’s property and assets.
If you have any questions about the process or need to hire an attorney to assist you, please contact our office.
WILLS & TRUSTS
Mr. Gwaltney provides estate planning and probate administration services. We focus on building long-term relationships, so that we can better understand your immediate financial situation. We work to help you to preserve your success, to fund your retirement, and pass your assets to your chosen beneficiaries. We work with a network of independent asset and business valuation consultants, as well as your own tax and financial planners to develop an estate preservation and distribution plan that is right for your specific objectives.
Each family’s needs and assets are unique, and cannot adequately be addressed through cookie cutter forms and “stock language” written in a memo. Each estate plan is different and we strive to consider the individual needs of not only the client, but their beneficiaries as well to maximize the transfer of assets.
Living wills, advance health care directives
Durable powers of attorney
We design estate plans that are unique to every client’s need
Whether you have a simple estate with assets that you want preserved for your surviving spouse, or have an estate that includes property, business ownership, and complex asset distribution concerns, we can help. Regardless of the value or number of assets, we will evaluate your situation with you and learn of your wishes and desires before drafting any documents. This allows you to take an active role in deciding how your estate is distributed, and ensures that your wishes are included in the final product.
Do I need a Trust?
The answer is, “maybe”. We will review your individual situation and help you determine how you wish to proceed in your estate planning. By meeting with you, and your investment and money professionals, we will develop a plan that will match your wishes and maximize the benefits to your heirs and yourself.
We are committed to providing responsive attention to detail that your success deserves.