Probate & Asset Locate Investigations South Florida
A probate professional is a lawyer who has been licensed by the state to advise and navigate personal representatives, as well as beneficiaries, on how to settle the final affairs pertaining to a deceased person, also known as a decedent. The personal representatives, also called executors or administrators, depending on the jurisdiction, are fiduciaries and the beneficiary is the recipient of the benefits arising from the death of the decedent.
The role of a professional probate lawyer, also known as an estate attorney, is to guide the personal representatives through the whole process from the very beginning to the end. The process largely depends on the local laws of the state, so, for example, probating an estate in South Florida will be different than in the state of Colorado. In Florida the state law allows two types of probate process. The determination of the probate process depends on how long the deceased person has been dead and how his/her probate is valued.
Another important factor is whether the deceased person died testate or intestate. Testate means he/she left a valid testament or last will in which he/she expressed his/her will of what to do with his/her property after his/her death. Intestate means he/she died without a valid testament or last will. A professional probate lawyer from Florida has a lot of experience in probate investigations in South Florida and will be able to handle the case in accordance with the local probate laws.
Not only does a probate investigator help the personal representatives during the probate process but he/she also advises the beneficiary of an estate on all of the legal aspects of the proceeding. This happens especially when the beneficiary does not get along well with the personal representative and thus there needs to be a third party involved in the communication between the two parties.
When working with a personal representative of an estate, the range of work the probate investigator can do might include locating and securing both non-probate and probate assets, collecting all life insurance proceeds, preparing all necessary documents the probate court requests in a timely fashion, obtaining the date of death of the decedent, as well as appraisals of all of the property the decedent left, keeping track of the checking account of the estate and advising on how to proceed with payments of the decedent’s final bills and any outstanding debts.
Once the testament or last will is filed with the probate court, then the probate judge is to determine whether the testament or last will is valid and if the signature on it is really the decedent’s signature. However, probate is not always necessary. It is not needed when the decedent bequeathed only assets which are non-probate. Examples of non-probate assets include assets the person owned jointly with a spouse, sibling or child through the rights of survivorship, assets owned by the person through contract rights that were payable to a specific beneficiary after the person’s death, for example, IRAs, 401(k)s, annuities, etc.
The probate process requires that you co-work with an experienced legal professional who will provide you with all the legal help you will need, answer any questions you might have and navigate you through the process, which is very difficult to go through by oneself.