A death has occurred in your family or your friend has passed away. Now you are facing the prospect of trust administration or probate or both. Trust administration and probate are the legal processes in Florida which are used to facilitate the transfer of a deceased person’s assets to new owners. Executors and trustees take a lead role in these processes, but heirs and family members may also have an important role to play.
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No matter what your specific obligations are during probate or trust administration, you owe it to yourself and to your deceased friend or relative to take the right steps to wind up the estate. Getting legal help is one of the best ways to make sure the deceased’s wishes are being respected, that assets are protected, and that heirs and beneficiaries get their new property in a timely manner.
Kulas & Crawford can provide you with the help you need throughout both the trust administration process and the probate process. If you live in Vero Beach, Port St. Lucie Florida or surrounding areas, give us a call to find out more about trust administration and probate and to get answers to questions including:
- What is involved in the Florida probate process?
- What happens during trust administration in Florida?
- How can a Vero Beach trust administration and probate lawyer help?
What is Involved in the Florida Probate Process?
The probate process is overseen by an executor, who the deceased appointed in his will. If no executor has been chosen or if the executor doesn’t wish to fulfill his responsibilities, the court will appoint an administrator. An attorney can provide help to either an executor or administrator in fulfilling his or her responsibility during probate.
The job of the executor or administrator begins by filing the appropriate paperwork with the probate court after death. The probate process will take place where the deceased lived and owned property. If property is owned in multiple states, there may need to be multiple probate processes unless steps were taken to avoid this.
During probate, the will is validated to make sure it should be enforced. The estate is valued, with the executor arranging for property appraisals when necessary. Creditors are provided with notice of the death and the chance to make claims on the estate. A determination is made on whether estate tax is owed and in what amount. Finally, at the close of probate, assets owned by the deceased are transferred to new owners. During this process, if there are questions about the validity of the will, those questions can be raised. Anyone wishing to argue a will is not valid will need to have an experienced attorney providing them with assistance in making a strong claim. A will may be invalidated if those objecting can prove the proper legal process was not followed; that there is a more updated will; or that the deceased was unduly influenced or not of sound mind and body when the will was created.
What Happens During Trust Administration in Florida?
The trust administration process takes place if the deceased had created a trust while still alive. This process involves the trustee carrying out the wishes of the deceased and facilitating the transfer of ownership to new owners.
The money and assets in the trust have to be carefully managed by the trustee, and the trustee is in charge of the formal trust administration process. The process of transferring assets can move much more quickly than the probate process because there is no probate court involved in trust administration.
The trustee has a fiduciary duty to manage the assets in the trust properly and to act in the best interest of trust beneficiaries. If the beneficiaries believe the trustee is failing in his duties, they may take legal action against the trustee.
How Can a Vero Beach Probate and Trust Administration Lawyer Help?
Throughout Port St. Lucie and Vero Beach, FL, clients trust Kulas & Crawford for help after a death has occurred. Our legal team knows the Florida laws for probate and for trust administration and we can be your guide as you protect your own interests and the interests of the deceased. Whether you are a trustee, an executor, an heir or a concerned family member, we are here to help you. Give us a call at 772-398-0720 or contact us online to learn more about the services that we can offer.