Gainesville Probate Attorney
Serving Gainesville, Alachua, Newberry, Lake City, High Springs, Trenton, Ocala, Palatka and the greater North Central Florida area. Looking for representation outside of North Central Florida? Visit our primary Florida Probate site.
We file probate cases locally here in the Gainesville and Alachua County area and Statewide!
Probate is an often misunderstood area of law.
The primary purpose of probate is to distribute a person’s assets after they die, according to their wishes if directed by a will or as prescribed by the Florida statutes.
Probate administration is court supervised and requires numerous filings with the courts and some interaction with the probate judges.
No Will?With or without a Will, an estate may need to go through probate court.
If a person dies without a will, the estate is said to be “intestate”. If there is a will, the estate is “testate”. In both situations, if there are assets still in the name of the deceased, the estate must be probated.
In Florida, if an estate’s non-exempt assets are valued at $75,000 or less, a summary administration may be appropriate. Otherwise, a formal administration is appropriate.
A personal representative or a petitioner who has standing to “probate” an estate, must be represented by a licensed Florida attorney in 99% of all cases.
The probate process can be filled with unforeseen hurdles and delay. We understand that when your loved ones pass, the probate process can be an overwhelming distraction during a time better spent adapting, mourning and coping with your loss.
Summary Administration (Probate) in Alachua County
Summary Administration is an abbreviated probate proceeding. Estates are eligible for summary administration when non-exempt assets total less than $75,000 or where the date of death is over 2 years. Creditor concerns can be difficult to address in summary administration, but absent that, summary administration is adequate for many estates. Estates that have many potential creditors should consider formal administration. Summary administration usually takes no more than 30 days but may be subject to a creditor period of 90 days.
Formal Administration (Probate) in Alachua County
Formal administration is the traditional form of probate where a personal representative (executor) is appointed by the courts and the estate is “fully” administered from start to finish. This process typically lasts 7-9 months with some deviation dependent on the efficiency of both the attorney and the court system. Alachua County is particularly efficient in moving probate cases along.
Among other concerns, a court-appointed personal representative must inventory assets, determine creditors, sell/manage real estate and ongoing business concerns and settle the estate. There are many interstitial steps involved and your probate attorney should be guiding you throughout the process.
When is Probate Necessary?
- There are assets that are “stuck” in the decedent’s name (real estate, checking accounts…)
- A bank tells you that “Letters of Administration” are needed.
- You need to file a lawsuit on the decedent’s behalf (i.e. wrongful death)
We will tell you if you need Probate
- Is probate necessary?
- Which type of probate is the most suitable and cost-effective?
- When should you start a probate case? (This is more complex than it sounds.)