Do I need a lawyer to file a probate proceeding?
In almost all probate cases in Florida, a personal representative (often referred to as an “executor”) is required to have an attorney who is admitted to practice in the state of Florida represent him or her. The exceptions to this rule are as follows: (1) the personal representative is the sole interested person or (2) the personal representative is an attorney admitted to practice in the state of Florida. Even if you fall within the first exception—you are both the personal representative and the sole beneficiary—you should hire an attorney to help you through the process.
The probate process can be very complicated, especially if there are creditors of the estate to whom money is owed. An experienced probate attorney understands the process and can represent you in completing the probate proceeding in a proper and efficient manner to ensure that all claims of creditors are properly disposed of and that all beneficiaries receive the assets to which they are entitled.
Here at Trader Legal, we often describe the probate process as “a series of hoops that you must jump through.” Our attorneys and staff are experienced in handling probate cases and we “hold our client’s hands” and navigate them through the “series of hoops” until we reach the end and our client is discharged as personal representative by the court.
There may be parties other than the beneficiaries listed in the will who have potential claims to a share of the assets in the estate— for example, a surviving spouse who has been disinherited under the terms of the will has a right to claim a portion of the deceased spouse’s estate known as the “elective share.” Additionally, there are complicated notice requirements that must be given to certain persons and creditors in order to properly address and/or extinguish any rights that the creditor(s) may have to the assets in the estate. An experienced and knowledgeable probate attorney would identify and address all issues involved in the proceeding.
Here at Trader Legal, our firm was established over 60 years ago and has been providing representation in probate matters since day one. Give us a call today at (321) 723-6731 to schedule a FREE probate consultation.