A Probate Attorney is the legal counsel that represents the executor during the probate process.
“The definition of Probate is the judicial process whereby a will is “proved” in a court of law and accepted as a valid public document that is the true last testament of the deceased.
In the absence of a legal will, probate settles the estate is settled according to the laws of intestacy in the state of residence of the deceased at the time of death.
The granting of Probate is the first step in the legal process of administering the estate of a deceased person, resolving all claims, and distributing the deceased person’s property under a will.
A Probate court decides the legal validity of a testator’s (deceased person’s) will and grants its approval, also known as granting probate, to the executor. The probated will then becomes a legal instrument that may be enforced by the executor in the law courts if necessary.
Probate court also officially appoints the executor (or personal representative), generally named in the will, as having legal power to dispose of the testator’s assets in the manner specified in the testator’s will
What is Probate and Why do I Need a Probate Attorney?
In the state of Florida, in almost all cases, you will need a Florida Probate Attorney. Except for “disposition without administration” (tiny estates) and those estates in which the executor (personal representative) is the sole beneficiary, Florida law requires the assistance of a (probate) attorney.
A probate attorney is a Florida state licensed (probate) attorney who works with the executors and the estate beneficiaries to settle the decedent’s affairs.
Probate attorneys can assist with a variety of responsibilities throughout the probate process. They can help identify and secure probate assets and help obtain appraisals for any of the deceased party’s property. A probate attorney can also ensure that any documents required by the probate court are filed in a timely fashion.
Frequently Asked Questions
This is impossible for us to answer without consultation, but the general rule is if there are no assets “stuck” in the deceased’s name, then you might not need probate.
Assets that are held jointly with a spouse or which have designated beneficiaries typically pass on to the heir without the necessity of probate.
However, many other considerations may determine if probate is essential.
Since every case is different, we highly recommend that you talk to an (probate) attorney to analyze your case.
Probate administration is a court process.
- Assets are collected, creditors are paid, and beneficiaries receive whatever remains.
- Assets = Real Estate or Personal Property
- Two kinds of “Probate”: Summary & Formal Administration
- The existence of a Will does not eliminate the need for probate.
- In Florida, “Personal Representatives” are in charge of “probating” the estate.
- Personal Representatives must have attorney representation (attorneys do most of the work)
- Most probate cases are filed by mail with telephone hearings (so your attorney does not have to be in the county where probate is required)
You can start probate whenever you’re ready. Only you know how soon you want to move forward.
However, there are certain situations where starting probate too soon may expose the estate to creditor claims you might be able to avoid otherwise.
Once a probate case is opened, creditors can stake their claim.
However, many assets are exempt from the claims of creditors!
If there is no Last Will & Testament (Will), then the assets may pass by what’s called “intestate succession.”
Intestate means that there is no Will.
Florida Statutes set forth who is entitled to inherit estate assets if the deceased died without a Will.
Letters of Administration are court orders issued as part of a formal administration.
LOA’s authorize the personal representative to begin administering the estate, including but not limited to discussing financial details with banks and brokerages.
It is not possible to get Letters of Administration without opening an estate in probate court.
Formal administration is the traditional form of probate in Florida.
A personal representative (executor) is only appointed in a formal administration.
Summary Administration is an abbreviated form of probate typically used when assets are valued at $75,000 or less (not including homestead value) or more than 2 years have passed since the date of death.
A personal representative is not appointed in Summary Administration.
Summary Administration is sometimes referred to as “small estate administration.”
- The fact that you’ve been nominated as a personal representative doesn’t automatically make you the personal representative. A probate court must appoint you the personal representative.
- The ultimate goals determine the necessity of probate. If real estate or personal property is still titled in the decedent’s name, then probate may be necessary.
In most cases, – No.
- Uncontested probate – where there is no dispute over the case’s outcome – will not require your presence in Florida.
- If an estate is contested, you may need to attend a hearing, but your attorney may be able to appear without you.
- Phone hearings are also permitted in many cases.
Costs will vary from firm to firm and across the country. These are only estimates.
Besides your attorney’s fees, there may be expenses for:
- Case Filing Fees ($235-$400)
- Publication of a “Notice to Creditors” (range: $100-200)
- Recording of Orders ($10 for the first page, $8.50 each additional)
- Certification of Orders ($2.00 certification + $1.00 per page of each instrument)
- Postage and/or FedEx Costs of ordering documents (death certificates, copies of Wills..)
With THE LEXWERX LAW FIRM, LLC, clients are billed monthly based on your selected fee plan: Hourly, Monthly Fee Plan, General Counsel for a Day Plan, or Project Specific Flat Rate Plan.
The prices listed do not include applicable taxes and expenses paid on your behalf.
However, we are committed to providing affordable and transparent legal services, so we do not charge for the following:
- Photocopying, Printing, and Scanning (* Non-normal quantities or Client requested duplicates may incur a fee)
- Travel within the Greater Tampa Bay area
- Long-distance telephone calls
Once you have assigned us a legal task, THE LEXWERX LAW FIRM, LLC will give you an estimate of the required hours for completion and continually communicate project status and any change in scope and estimated cost to allow you to understand and budget for your legal spend.
You know beforehand what your expenses will be.
We will invoice you no less than monthly on the first of each month. If we need to make adjustments in your monthly retainer, we will reach out and have a chat.
Businesses without in-house legal counsel often hesitate to seek help from traditional law firms due to their services’ high and unpredictable costs.
As a law firm with significant in-house legal counsel experience and an entrepreneurial spirit, our Outsourced General Counsel understands how timely and strategic legal advice can help you make the right business decisions.
Our “Customized to You” Monthly Fee Plans allow you to retain experienced legal counsel on a monthly budget without the cost of full-time in-house legal counsel.
It is 100% Your Choice!
- You can choose to roll-over your balance to the next month or
- We will refund the balance and review if we should adjust your next month’s bill to a lower amount.
Prospective Clients of THE LEXWERX LAW FIRM, LLC can call and schedule a 30-minute or 60-minute Initial Consultation.
We prefer to come to your business place to meet with you and get a feel for your business. Alternatively, we can meet virtually or at our offices in Tampa.
We like to get an opportunity to understand your business during this initial consultation better, explain our practical approach to legal services, and determine how we can support your company.
Just click on the “Request an Initial Consultation” button on this page to contact us and schedule a date and time to chat that works best for you.
This Frequently Asked Questions section contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please consult a lawyer.
Choosing the right Probate Counsel can help ensure your loved one’s wishes are properly executed.
THE LEXWERX LAW FIRM, LLC, of Tampa, Florida, will guide you through why we are the right choice to act as your Outsourced General Counsel. In fact, we provide custom solutions based on your specific needs and corporate dynamics. We serve the greater Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida area.
To schedule a 30-minute or 60-minute Initial Consultation, call us at 813-519-4339.