Wills, Probate

Trusts, Estate Planning

210 South Beach Street, Suite 202
Daytona Beach, FL 32114
(386) 257-3332

Personal Representative

Great to work with. I live in TX and had a trust to close in FLA they were a great help.

~ John R

Hello Heidi,

My name is Bill S. I am the youngest child of Tony and Ann S. We have never met, but from what I have seen and heard from my Dad, you have done some amazing things to help him. He has praised your efforts enormously to both me and my Brother Bob.

I wanted to reach out and send a quick note of appreciation for helping him through a very tough time. Although you may have not received much in the way of money for your work on this, (My Dad shared with me your bill), please know that you have made an enormous difference in our lives.

My Dad has been a “prisoner” in his house for a few years now, and the help that he has been able to get through your assistance, has been truly invaluable. I was down there last week and we had a few tough days. I am not sure what we have done without the assistance that you helped provide.

Thank you dearly for all you have done, you have truly been an angel for our family. God Bless You and your family!!!

~ Bill S.

Probate and Estate Administration 101

Upon the death of a loved one, their Estate must be settled [their money & ‘stuff’ dispersed]. At a highly emotional time this can seem overwhelming to someone with no legal experience so I thought I’d write a very basic outline that folks can find while Googling late at night wanting answers.  

In a nutshell, absent a Trust or other Probate avoidance steps being taken while your loved one was alive, their Estate [with or without a Will] will be handled through a court process, which is known as Probate. Through this court process, assets are managed and then ultimately distributed. 

While every case is different, there are several basic steps that must be followed when an Estate is going through probate in the Daytona Beach area. The first step is to find an attorney you feel comfortable with to file the Petition with [or without] their Will with Probate court.  In Florida you must have an Attorney for the Probate process.  At that point, a Personal Representative is appointed.  A Notice will be sent to the heirs and known creditors, as well as a publication notice to alert any unknown creditors.  The Personal Representative will then to prepare an inventory and conduct an appraisal of the assets of the estate and prepare to pay any estate debts to the creditors.  As the probate process nears an end, the assets of the estate are sold. If required, any estate taxes are paid. Ultimately, the remaining assets are distributed to the heirs accordingly.  At best this is a six month process from start to finish.

Not only is the process lengthy but during the probate process, someone can opt to “contest” a will. In this case, that means they do not agree with the division of assets. This can be a result of children not getting equal shares, disputes over a Will being changed or even a disagreement about the whom should be the Personal Representative of the estate. These disputes can be very expensive and can extend the time that it takes to settle an estate.

With proper Estate Planning you can make the settling of the estate much easier on your family.  Estate planning can make it less costly and the process move more smoothly.  If you need help with the Probate process, Estate Planning or any aspect of planning for your future needs and the needs of your family, call me today to set up a consultation that focuses on your individual needs and the needs of your family.

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