Jacksonville Probate Attorney
Work With Probate Specialists in FL
Probate is the official verification of a will. In Florida, handling a loved one’s assets and liabilities upon their death is called administering the probate of their estate. This process occurs whether or not the decedent (the person who died) had a will.
Under Florida state law, the probate process is mandatory if the decedent owned assets. It must occur before those assets can be transferred to anyone else—even if the beneficiaries are the decedent’s family members.
Do I Need a Probate Lawyer in Florida?
Under Florida Probate Rule 5.030, probate cannot be handled without an attorney unless the decedent’s estate qualifies for a Disposition of Property without Administration. The only exception is if the party is the sole heir/beneficiary of an estate.
Additionally, Florida Statute 733.6171 outlines the attorney’s fees for probate. No matter how much or how little experience the attorney has, the base cost is enforced by the state.
Because an attorney is required for the probate process and the fees are already set, it is imperative to do your research and find an Jacksonville probate attorney who not only specializes in probate, but also has ample experience in the area to make the probate process as smooth as possible during this challenging time.
Put 50+ Years of Experience on Your Side
Losing a loved one can be an extremely difficult experience. That’s why our team of probate attorneys in Jacksonville at Edwards & Edwards, P.A. are dedicated to making the process as stress-free as possible so you can have peace of mind during this life transition.
See how our probate lawyers in Jacksonville can help you navigate this challenging time. Contact Edwards & Edwards, P.A. online or call (904) 478-9255.
What Assets Go Through Probate?
In Florida, the assets that go through the probate process are the ones that the decedent owned in their name during the time of their passing.
This typically includes things like:
- Bank accounts
- Investment accounts
- Life insurance policy
- Retirement account payable to the estate
- Real estate
Other assets that also go through are assets that were owned by the decedent and one or more co-owners did not provide information regarding automatic succession of ownership at death.
The Length of the Probate Process
At Edwards & Edwards, P.A., our Jacksonville probate lawyers stay on top of all probate cases, speeding up the completion of the process to as quick as 30 days, depending on the complexity and the cooperation of the parties in each case. For more complex and high-value estates, the probate process can take 6-12 months to complete, however it also depends on the type of estate that is being processed.
Average time it takes to probate different estates:
- Simple Estate: about 3 months or less
- Formal Administration: about 1 year
- Complex Cases: 2 years or more
If estates are being disputed or in litigation, it may take even longer for the probate process to close. In some situations, documents may be missing, beneficiaries cannot be found, the assets cannot be collected easily -- it is possible for probate to go on for a long period of time. That is why it may be helpful to have an experienced Jacksonville probate attorney by your side.
What Is the Florida Probate Process?
Generally, the probate proceeding takes place in the county where the decedent was living at the time of death. At the hearing, beneficiaries and heirs are given notice so they have the opportunity to object or agree. Heirs refer to those who would inherit assets according to state law in the absence of a valid will.
The court then issues Letters of Administration, which is a document that gives the probate attorney authority to settle the estate. If a will is in place, it must be filed with the court to be proven valid.
Under the court’s supervision, the probate attorney will then:
- Gather and take inventory of the decedent’s assets
- Pay debts and taxes
- And distribute what’s left to beneficiaries and heirs
The attorney must submit a final accounting to the court, showing all the estate contained, how the assets have been dispersed, and the plan for distribution. Anyone who objects can do so in court.
After everything has been allocated, the probate attorney files receipts (evidence) with the court and asks that the estate be closed. The court then issues an order closing the estate.
What Happens In Probate If There Is No Will?
If the deceased person did not create a last will & testament before they passed on, then their assets will go through intestate or “intestate succession”. This means determining who may inherit assets will be based upon the state of Florida and its intestate statutes.
Does Probate Require an Appearance in Court?
Typically, probate that is not contested does not require appearance in court. However, if an estate dispute does arse, then you may be required to attend a hearing. If you choose to work with an experienced Jacksonville probate lawyer from then we may appear at court for you. In some cases, hearings may also be conducted via phone.
Why Choose Edwards & Edwards, P.A.?
Many firms choose to exclusively practice one area of law. However, our attorneys have over half a century of experience handling many different case types because we know that any given legal dilemma rarely fits into a single practice area.
Our Jacksonville probate attorneys apply a multifaceted approach to every case, which allows us to anticipate the full range of potential consequences and benefits of each legal strategy. At our core, we are problem-solvers, and we look forward to helping you overcome your legal or financial challenge as soon as possible.
We know this can be a confusing process, and we’re happy to answer any questions you have. Contact us online or call (904) 478-9255 to speak with a probate lawyer in Jacksonville at Edwards & Edwards, P.A.
The Sisters-at-Law are On Your Side
What Sets Us Apart
Over 50 Years of Combined Experience
Wide Range of Legal Services Available
Responsive to Client Communication
Sister-Owned Firm, Entirely Run by Women