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Posted: Friday, June 30, 2017 5:12 PM


Frank L. Hollander, Attorney at Law, Miami, Florida, established 1988. We probate estates in Miami, Florida. We represent guardians and litigate trust disputes.Free Consultation. Free Parking. Call Toll Free: (800) 966-4041 or locally (305) 373-9999. One Biscayne Tower, Suite 3760, 2 South Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, Florida 33131. (At the corner of East Flagler Street and Biscayne Boulevard, across from Bayfront Park).


What Is A Will?

A Will is a document that says what one wants done with his or her property when he or she dies. It can also be used for special instructions such as who is to be the guardian of one 's child and whether one wishes to be buried or cremated.

What Happens If One Dies Without A Will?

If one dies without a Will (intestate), Florida law specifies who will inherit the property.

Can One Provide For a Minor Child in A Will?


What Is Probate of an Estate?

Probate of an estate is the court procedure whereby the estate 's personal representative marshalls the assets, pays any debts and distributes the property owned by the deceased to the rightful heirs, according to the terms of a Will or the laws of intestacy. The personal representative must retain a probate attorney to represent him or her in this procedure.

How Often Does One Need To Do A Will?

A Will is good for a lifetime but if there are major changes to one 's lifestyle, one may want to change his or her Will also. For instance, if one remarries, he or she may want the assets to go to the new spouse instead of the former spouse.

Summary administration: The type of court proceedings used in Florida to pass title to a decedent 's assets to the decedent 's intended heirs may be had in the administration of either a resident or nonresident decedent 's estate, when it appears:

(1) a. In an intestate estate (when there 's no will) or b. in a testate estate (when there is a will) which does not direct administration as required by chapter 733, and it appears (2) that the value of the entire estate subject to administration in Florida, less the value of property exempt from the claims of creditors (homestead), does not exceed $75,000 or that the decedent has been dead for more than 2 years.

What is probate?
Probate is a legal process that takes place after someone dies. It includes:

proving in court that a deceased person 's will is valid (usually a routine matter)
identifying and inventorying the deceased person 's property
having the property appraised
paying debts and taxes, and
distributing the remaining property as the will (or state law, if there 's no will) directs.
Typically, probate involves paperwork and court appearances by lawyers. The lawyers and court fees are paid from estate property, which would otherwise go to the people who inherit the deceased person 's property.

How does the probate process work?
Probate usually works like this: After your death, the person you named in your will as executor -- or, if you die without a will, the person appointed by a judge -- files papers in the local probate court. The executor proves the validity of your will and presents the court with lists of your property, your debts, and who is to inherit what you 've left. Then, relatives and creditors are officially notified of your death.

Your executor must find, secure, and manage your assets during the probate process, which commonly takes a few months to a year. Depending on the contents of your will, and on the amount of your debts, the executor may have to decide whether or not to sell your real estate, securities, or other property. For example, if your will makes a number of cash bequests but your estate consists mostly of valuable artwork, your collection might have to be appraised and sold to produce cash. Or, if you have many outstanding debts, your executor might have to sell some of your property to pay them.

In most states, immediate family members may ask the court to release short-term support funds while the probate proceedings lumber on. Then, eventually, the court will grant your executor permission to pay your debts and taxes and divide the rest among the people or organizations named in your will. Finally, your property will be transferred to its new owners.

Does all property have to go through probate when a person dies?
No. Most states allow a certain amount of property to pass free of probate or through a simplified probate procedure.

In addition, property that passes outside of your will -- say, life insurance, a joint bank account, through joint tenancy or a living trust -- is not subject to probate.

Who is responsible for handling probate?
In most circumstances, the executor named in the will takes this job. If there isn 't any will, or the will fails to name an executor, the probate court names someone (called an administrator) to handle the process. Most often, the job goes to the closest capable relative or the person who inherits the bulk of the deceased person 's assets.

If no formal probate proceeding is necessary, the court does not appoint an estate administrator. Instead, a close relative or friend serves as an informal estate representative. Normally, families and friends choose this person, and it is not uncommon for several people to share the responsibilities of paying debts, filing a final income tax return and distributing property to the people who are supposed to get it.
When a person is too young to make decisions or incapacitated and can no longer care for their own interests, guardian law allows the court to appoint someone to make legal, medical, housing, and financial decisions for them. A legal guardian may be appointed as a limited decision-maker or an all-purpose decision-maker. Nursing home residents may need a general legal guardian to make all their decisions for them. Guardianship lawyers advise you about the appropriate legal guardianship for your particular circumstances. They also help with guardianship forms and other legal paperwork, and represent the guardian once one is appointed.
Is Guardianship a Legal Process?
Yes, guardianship is a legal proceeding in the Circuit Court of Florida in which a guardian exercises the legal rights for another individual called a ward.
How to Establish a Guardianship?
A guardian may be appointed by the Court when an individual has been declared incapacitated because of he/she is under age, or because of mental illness. A court may also appoint a guardian for an individual who seems likely to be taken advantage of by others due to age.
What do Guardians Do?
Guardians may be given various levels of responsibility. A plenary guardianship is a full guardianship over the person and/or property of the ward. A limited guardianship is one in which the guardian is responsible for specific areas of care but not all. The guardian of the person may be responsible for making decisions about medical treatment, mental and personal care services, and the residential living situation best suited for the ward. The guardian of the property might be responsible to inventory the property, invest it prudently, and use it for the ward's support. Often, the Court will approve these decisions beforehand.
What Must a Guardian Do?
A Florida guardian is required to attend a court-approved training program which lasts about an hour. He or she is required to submit an annual report of the person and/or property to the Clerk of the Court for review. Any guardian who does not comply with court requirements may be removed.
What is a Living Will?
A Living Will is a document that tells your doctors and hospitals whether you want to be kept alive by artificial means in the event of a serious illness. If the Living Will has not been followed, a guardianship may be necessary.
Does a Guardianship require an Attorney?
Yes, a guardian must be represented by an attorney who will serve as the attorney of record.
For a free consultation, and legal assistance, call (305) 373-9999 for an appointment or call toll free 1 (800) 966-4041 for a free out-of-town telephone consultation.

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