Knowledgeable Lighthouse Point Probate Lawyer Settles Decedents’ Estates
Florida attorney provides advice and representation for executors and administrators
If you have recently lost a loved one, you’ve no doubt heard the word “probate” used in relation to your loved one’s estate. Probate can refer to the court process of validating a will so an executor can implement the decedent’s wishes, or the oversight the court provides for an estate administrator who settles an intestate estate. Whether a will exists or not, the process of settling an estate can be complex, so the person who assumes those duties needs the advice of a knowledgeable probate lawyer. At the Law Offices of Larry F. Witte, P.A., we are experienced in advising clients who act as executors and administrators. Executors and administrators need sound guidance, since the law holds them personally liable for losses in the value of estate assets due to errors or misconduct. Our firm can guide you through the complex process quickly and efficiently, so you maximize the value of the estate for your loved one’s heirs.
Probate attorney who guides you through every step of the process
Most executors have never probated a will; many are surprised to learn the decedent’s will named them as the responsible party. When there is no will, the least-reluctant close relative usually acts as personal representative of the estate, after getting court approval. In most cases, the party responsible for settling the estate has no prior experience with tasks that include:
- Filing the will with the Florida probate court
- Getting court approval as estate administrator and posting bond
- Developing the best strategy for fairly and expeditiously settling the estate
- Finding and assembling assets
- Paying creditors and claimants
- Collecting amounts owed the estate
- Closing and opening bank accounts
- Transferring assets from the deceased to the estate
- Paying current and delinquent taxes as well as estate taxes
- Valuing, managing, preserving and liquidating the estate
- Locating beneficiaries
- Hiring experts, when appropriate
Estate representatives can easily make mistakes due to inexperience, stress and hasty decisions. Our experienced lawyer guides clients through every step of the probate process, with reliable, detailed advice, so you can settle your loved one’s estate as efficiently, quickly and easily as possible.
Valuing assets within the estate
Our firm can assist executors with the arduous process of collecting, valuing, protecting and liquidating the assets of the estate. When needed, we can call upon accountants, financial advisors, real estate agents, property managers and other professionals to assist with executor duties and can access expert opinions about unique assets such as antiques, rare books, automobiles and other collectibles for accurate valuation, management and possible sale.
Capable management of probate disputes
Even in apparently straightforward estate cases, there are sometimes disputes among beneficiaries or between certain beneficiaries and the executor/administrator. When representing the estate or the estate’s fiduciary, we demonstrate the utmost professionalism in negotiations. Whether the issue is a will challenge or accusations against a fiduciary’s management of estate assets, I advocate strongly for my client’s rights.