Probate Administration in St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Tampa, Sarasota and surrounding West Florida areas. in St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Tampa, Sarasota and surrounding West Florida areas.
The term “probate” refers to the court-supervised process of identifying, managing, and distributing certain assets of a deceased person, or “decedent.” Generally, probate administration involves reviewing the Last Will and Testament of the decedent, if any, appointing a personal representative to act as a fiduciary, identifying the probate assets, paying creditors and other fees, such as personal representative fees, and ultimately distributing property to beneficiaries.
If a decedent has a Last Will and Testament, it will usually designate a person to act as the personal representative for probate administration. However, even if this is the case, that person has no authority to act for the estate until the court enters an order appointing them as personal representative and issues Letters of Administration, which may be conditioned upon the posting of a bond to ensure that the personal representative fulfills his or her duties. In the event that a Last Will and Testament does not exist, or does not name a personal representative, a family member is usually given priority to serve as personal representative. Once a personal representative is appointed, that person has authority to pay creditors, gather probate assets, pay federal and estate taxes, and distribute property to any beneficiaries.
Because probate administration requires the filing of multiple documents with the court and because a personal representative could potentially be liable to any beneficiaries for mismanagement of the estate, it is recommended that the personal representative seek assistance from an attorney to guide this process.
If you need assistance with probate (estate) administration, please contact our office, as our attorneys routinely handle probate administration in the courts of St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Tampa, Sarasota and the surrounding West Florida areas.