Probate: Probate is the legal process of administering the estate of a deceased person by resolving all claims and distributing the deceased person's property under a valid will. A Court decides the validity of a testator's will. The Probate process helps to interpret the instructions of the deceased, decides the Personal Representative for the estate, and adjudicates the interests of heirs and other parties who may have claims against the estate.
As with any legal proceeding, there are technical aspects to probate which need to be dealt with such as: Creditors need to be notified and legal notices published. Personal Representatives need to be guided in how and when to distribute assets and how to take creditors rights into account. A Petition to appoint a personal representative will need to be filed and Letters of Administration obtained. Homestead property, which follows its own set of unique rules in Florida, must be dealt with separately from other assets. There are time factors involved in filing and objecting to claims against the estate. There may be a lawsuit pending over the decedent's death or there may have been pending suits that are now continuing. Real estate may need to be sold to effectuate correct distribution of assets pursuant to the estate plan or merely to pay debts. Estate taxes must be considered if the estate exceeds certain thresholds. Other assets may simply need to be transferred from the decedent to his or her heirs. At every step, expert knowledge and advice will help the process go smoother with as little extra stress as possible.
At Griffin & Griffin we handle all of the paperwork for you and work to ensure that our clients do not fall into any of the pitfalls of estate administration. We know that Probate accompanies the death of a loved one and our clients focus should not be hindered by the concerns of probate, therefore, we work hard to make the process and smooth and stress free as possible.
Trust Administration: Trust administration works very much like the probate process without the added need for Court oversight. The Trust administration process is aimed at assisting the named Trustee of a Trust with the guidance and assistance he or she needs to ensure that the trust is properly and expediently administered, that creditors rights are adequately and properly addressed, that all tax issues are complied with, and any sub-trusts are properly established and administered. The trust administration process can often be accomplished much faster than the probate process because many of the time restrictions and limitations are not imposed on the Trustee. Despite the lack of initial judicial oversight the Trustee is not without responsibilities that must be met. If the Trustee fails in any of his or her responsibilities the beneficiaries have a right to sue to enforce their perceived rights. This process therefore creates a system of self-regulation which is aimed at keeping the Trustee in check.
At Griffin & Griffin we work with Trustees, or serve as Trustees ourselves, to help ensure that our client’s wishes are properly fulfilled and that Trust beneficiaries receive all the benefits they are entitled to properly and in an expedient manner.
Our Practice Areas
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7077 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34231