Probate administration of a deceased person’s estate is typically required when the person dies with a will-based estate plan, or dies without a plan at all. It is a court-supervised process, the goal of which is to ensure that the deceased person’s creditors are protected and the remaining assets are distributed to beneficiaries or heirs in the manner required by law.
Our firm has extensive experience handling both “simple” and “complex” probate administrations. We work closely with the Personal Representative (Executor) of the deceased person’s estate to ensure that the administration is handled as efficiently as possible. In addition, we are Florida Bar Board Certified in Elder Law as well as trained and experienced in facilitating the resolution of family conflicts that sometimes arise during probate administration. We do our best to ensure that the deceased person’s wishes are followed, and that the family and/or beneficiaries are relieved of the burden of worrying about administrative issues.
One of our goals is to assist our clients in the creation and maintenance of an estate plan that will avoid the need for probate. A living trust based estate plan, if properly established, maintained, and “funded,” avoids probate because assets are held in the trust, not in the deceased person’s name. The trust provides for administration of the estate privately, without the need for probate.
Trusts are not, however, self-administering documents. Work must be performed to ensure that the trust assets are properly managed and transferred. Trust administration involves identifying and managing the assets, paying the bills, taxes, if any, and administrative expenses, and distributing or maintaining and managing the assets as instructed in the trust.
We believe that trustees should be educated as to their duties prior to their service. For that reason, we offer training workshops to our clients and the trustees that they name to administer their trusts after their disability or death. Upon disability or death, we assist the trustee in administering the estate and ensuring that all of their duties are properly performed.
What happens if I die without a will?
Answer: If you die without a valid last will and testament, you will have relinquished to the state of Florida control over how your assets will be distributed. Florida’s law on distribution of your assets may be be markedly different from your desires.
Do I have to sell my home to be eligible for Medicaid?
Answer: No. Homes that have a value of less than $543,000 are not included when determining Medicaid eligibility.