When our client's life transitions or when you lose a loved one, we are here to assist you settle the estate. We work with trustees and personal representatives/executors (both individual and corporate) and beneficiaries to gather assets, administer the estate and ultimately distribute the assets to the beneficiaries. We help you understand complicated trust provisions, probate laws, prepare family agreements to help settle disputes and avoid costly litigation, and work with our beneficiaries and advisors to preserve their inheritance and start their own legacy.
Probate Administration is a court supervised proceeding over a decedent's estate. If the decedent died with a valid Will, the Will is presented to the court for admission in a Petition and also appoint the nominated personal representative named in the Will. If the decedent did not have a Will and administration is necessary, an interested party with priority for appointment pursuant to Florida statutes, may petition the court for appointment as personal representative.
During Probate Administration, a personal representative is appointed with authority to act on behalf of the estate. The representative is responsible for gathering and protecting the decedent’s assets, providing the court and beneficiaries with an inventory of the assets in the estate, addressing creditor's rights and claims, payment of taxes and expenses, addressing claims and rights of interested parties, such as elective share, filing necessary petitions and motions to secure protected and exempt property, such as the decedent’s homestead, and ultimately distributing the assets to the beneficiaries.
The appointment of a personal representative is a fiduciary appointment regardless of the relation to the decedent. As a result, the personal representative owes a duty to the beneficiaries to keep them informed during the administration, when necessary, diversify investments, timely liquidate assets to prevent loss or waste, and provide the beneficiaries with an accounting.
Even if there are no assets in a decedent’s estate and there is a valid Will, you should seek the counsel of an attorney to assist you with the basic administration procedures such as your requirement to deposit the Will with the court.
Trust Administration is one component of estate administration which involves the administration, management and distribution of assets. We represent trustees or beneficiaries depending on the circumstances. In most cases, trust administration does not involve court supervision. However, there are times the court will get involved when conflict or disputes arises among the parties, there are ambiguities in the language of the trust document or judicial intervention is warranted to change provisions in the trust.
Upon the death of the Settlor or Grantor, the necessary documents required by Florida law, are filed and recorded. We work with the successor trustee and the financial institutions to gather assets, re-title accounts, pay the decedent's appropriate expenses, determine tax liabilities, and ultimately distribute the assets of trust according to the terms of the trust.