Florida Probate Lawyer
A Florida probate lawyer specializes in handling estates which must undergo the probate process. When a person dies all of their worldly possessions are transferred to probate. The only way to avoid probate is to execute a living trust. During probate, the decedent's assets are inventoried and their Last Will and Testament is validated.
If a person dies intestate (without a Will), a Florida probate lawyer is typically retained by the family. In most cases, a direct lineage heir will be appointed to administer the estate with the assistance of legal counsel. The appointed estate administrator will inventory assets and setup a bank account to pay creditors.
In the state of Florida, estate executors should always retain the services of a qualified probate attorney. Many legal issues can arise during probate and a plethora of legal documents need to be filed through the court.
Florida probate lawyers advise estate administrators on their rights and duties involved with administering the estate. Additionally, the attorney represents the estate administrator during probate proceedings. Florida probate attorneys do not represent any of the heirs of the decedent's estate. Their duty is to assist the designated Administrator throughout the probate process.
According to Florida probate law, any provision in a Will mandating a specific attorney or law firm be retained to manage their estate is not legally binding. Instead, the estate administrator can hire any Florida probate lawyer they choose.
Florida law allows probate lawyers to charge fees based on a percentage of the estate. However, most lawyers charge an hourly rate or flat fee; particularly when estates are large. Probate costs vary depending on the size of the estate, assets owned, number of beneficiaries and special provisions outlined in the Will. Generally, Florida probate lawyers base their fees on the type of assets and complexity of administering the estate.
Florida probate lawyers can be located through the American Bar Association and the Florida Bar. Before retaining the services of any probate lawyer, be certain to check with the American Bar Association to ensure they are in good standing.
Learn more about the probate process, how to avoid probate, hiring a probate lawyer, estate planning and more in our comprehensive article database.