Fort Myers Probate & Estate Administration Attorneys
Helping People with Affairs Concerning a Loved One’s Estate Plan
Have you been selected to administer the trust or estate of a late loved one? Serving as a personal administrator or trustee can be a difficult task, especially if you are grieving the loss of a family member. Our estate planning counselors at The Dorcey Law Firm are prepared to assist you with your administration duties and can help make the process less stressful. With experience assisting thousands of families, our firm’s knowledgeable Fort Myers probate lawyer is dedicated to our clients’ best interests, understands the Florida probate process, and can walk you through it step by step.
Who Can Administer Someone Else's Trust or Estate?
In order to serve as a personal representative, you must be blood-related to the deceased person, referred to as the decedent, or a Florida resident. Additionally, you must be 18 years or older with no felony convictions. If you are administering an estate in Fort Myers as a resident of another state, our Fort Myers probate lawyer can assist you with our out-of-state representation services.
The Dorcey Law Firm also assists beneficiaries who believe that the personal representative of a late loved one’s estate is abusing the position for their own benefit or to withhold inheritance. If this applies to you, our probate professionals can help you through the process of removal or appointment of executors.
How Long Does Probate Take in Florida?
The probate process in the state of Florida usually takes 6-9 months under most circumstances - start to finish. This process includes:
- Appointing a personal representative (i.e., the "executor")
- 90 days creditor's period that must run
- Payment of creditor's claims
One important distinction on probate is that the personal representative, once appointed by the probate court upon petition by an attorney, has the ability to manage and sell the estate assets. This means that while the probate process can take a number of months, the estate assets can be sold and managed effectively. Once the 90 day creditor's period runs (starting at the date of publication in a newspaper), the estate can generally start to be closed down with the personal representative following a strict process to close the estate.
Assistance Throughout the Probate and Distribution Processes
Probate involves determining the validity of a will as well as the administration of an estate, including handling and distributing the decedent’s assets to the beneficiaries. The assets must be used to pay taxes, creditors, and the personal representative before they are distributed to the heirs.
The way the assets are distributed depends largely on the presence of a valid will. A will can select heirs as well as their inheritance with few restrictions. If there is no valid will, then Florida intestate laws will determine the beneficiaries, which may include a surviving spouse, children or parents, and what percentage of the estate they will receive.
We are dedicated to keeping your estate plan current with changes in your life and the law, providing you with peace of mind knowing your legacy will continue through all seasons of life.