Merriam-Webster dictionary defines Affordable as “having a cost that is not too high.” Oxford dictionary defines Affordable as something that is “reasonably priced.” The Florida Legislature has attempted to define presumptively reasonable attorneys’ fees for probate administration in Florida Statute Section 733.6171 - which calculates a reasonable attorney fee based on the value of a probate estate. Instead of blindly charging a fee based upon the value of a probate estate or on a percentage of the value of the probate estate, my firm looks at each case individually.
My firm’s goal is to provide legal services at a discount to the presumptively reasonable fees suggested in Florida Statute Section 733.6171. Upon review of the specific nature and complexity of the case, my firm will provide an estimate as to the total anticipated attorney fee for each individual case. It is through this process that we strive to make sure that we are providing services at “a cost that is not too high” and are also always “reasonably priced,” thus providing an affordable probate to each family we serve.
Our Affordable Tampa Probate Attorney provides Affordable Estate Planning legal services for Tampa, St Petersburg and Clearwater Florida residents. Serving Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties.
What is Probate? Probate is the legal process in which the assets of a deceased individual pass to the heirs or beneficiaries of the deceased individual.
What are the types of Probate in Florida?
Formal Administration: Formal Administration is the most common form of Probate in Florida. If an Estate has a value of more than $75,000.00, then a Formal Administration is required by law. Formal Administration is a Court supervised proceeding where a Personal Representative is appointed, a Notice of Administration will be sent to interested persons, and a Notice to Creditors will be published and sent to all known creditors. During the Formal Administration process assets will be collected, debts and taxes will be paid, distributions will be made to the Heirs or Beneficiaries and a final accounting will be completed.
Summary Administration generally takes less time to complete than a Formal Administration and is less expensive. However, Summary Administration is only available for probate estates where the value of non-exempt assets is no more than $75,000.00. Furthermore, if there are any outstanding debts of the deceased or there are creditors involved, a Summary Administration will sometimes be prohibited by the Court.
Disposition Without Administration:
In certain circumstances, if the assets of the deceased’s estate consist only of exempt assets or are less than certain preferred expenses, a Disposition Without Administration will be allowed by the Court. A Disposition Without Administration is less costly than a Formal Administration and Summary Administration. However, a Disposition Without Administration usually only takes place in cases where there are very little assets to administer.
What assets must go through Probate?
If an individual dies owning an asset or assets that are in that person’s name alone, there is a good chance that the asset or assets will need to go through Probate in order for that property to pass to the rightful heir or beneficiary. This could include, but is not limited to, property such as real estate, checking accounts, savings accounts, retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and motor vehicles.
However, if the title to an asset is held jointly with another individual or there is a named beneficiary on the asset, then the asset may not need to be administered through Probate and may pass directly to that individual outside of the Probate process.
What if there was no Will?
In Florida, if an individual passes away without a Last Will and Testament, the individual’s assets pass through the State’s laws governing intestate succession. Intestate means that an individual died without leaving a Will. In these cases, the individual’s property passes to the individual’s heirs in the order prescribed in the Florida Statutes.
What if there is a Will?
In Florida, if a person dies and they have a Will, then the Will must be admitted to Probate in order to be administered. The original copy of the Will is required to be filed with the applicable Clerk of Court. If the Will is admitted into Probate, then the individual’s assets will pass to the individual’s beneficiaries in accordance with the terms of the Will. This is referred to as a Testate Estate.
What is the difference between an Heir and a Beneficiary?
Often times, the terms Heir and Beneficiary are used interchangeable. However, there is a difference between an Heir and a Beneficiary. An “Heir” or “Heir at Law” means a person who is entitled under the statutes of intestate succession to the property of a decedent. A “Beneficiary” means an heir at law in an intestate estate and devisee in a testate estate. To summarize, if an individual is designated to inherit property through an intestacy, the individual is both an Heir and a Beneficiary. If an individual is designated to inherit property through a Last Will and Testament, the individual is referred to as a Beneficiary or Devisee.
What is a Personal Representative?
The Personal Representative is the person, entity or trust company appointed by the judge to be in charge of the administration of the deceased individual’s probate estate. In other states, the terms Executor or Executrix are used instead of the term Personal Representative. The State of Florida uses the term Personal Representative.
Where does the Probate process take place?
Generally, the Probate proceeding and all necessary papers will be filed in the county in which the deceased was domiciled at the time of his or her death. The county in which the deceased individual made his or her permanent residence will generally always be the county in which the Probate must be opened.
- Estate Planning
- Wills and Trusts
- Formal Administration
- Summary Administration