For those individuals who have a Last Will & Testament and not a Revocable Living Trust, the Will goes through a process called Probate. In this process, the courts review and approve the document. It can be costly and time-consuming, as most courts require the estate to have an attorney to represent the estate in all court proceedings. In administering the Will, the courts will seek to ensure that the Will was properly executed and conforms with legal requirements in the State of Florida or the state in question.
In a full probate proceeding, an executor or personal representative is approved or appointed by the court. The Personal Representative is required to publish Notice to Creditors of the individual’s death, file an Inventory of probate assets of property and values, pay all legitimate bills and claims, distribute assets to beneficiaries, provide an Accounting to the beneficiaries of what assets they took possession of, post any gains or losses and expenses incurred, and obtain an Order of Discharge from the court.
The process is similar for individuals with no will. The attorney for the Personal Representative will prepare all the documents necessary to be filed by the court, advise the Personal Representative, and communicate with the court and all beneficiaries, parties and/or creditors on behalf of the estate. In this capacity, the Personal Representative serves as a fiduciary.
This is the highest legal standard, which requires avoidance of any self-dealing, vested or side business interests, and he or she is held strictly accountable for their actions. For this reason, competent and experienced legal representation for the Personal Representative is a must.
Grand & Grand is a Hollywood, Florida, boutique law firm. Our attorneys practice law by a simple philosophy: Each client relationship is our most important client relationship. We focus on Estate Planning/Wills & Trusts, Asset Protection, Probate and Real Estate, and business law needs for entrepreneurs, executives, retirees, and high net worth individuals.
If you have amassed an estate of any size, from modest to measurable, you must ensure your assets and estates are protected today for yourself, your spouse, and the benefit of future generations.