Probate Attorney in Stuart, Florida

Helping Families With The Probate Process in Stuart, Florida and The Surrounding Area

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Probate Attorney in Stuart Florida

Florida Probate

Probate is a legal process that takes place after someone passes away. It involves proving that the decedent’s will is valid, inventorying their estate, satisfying creditor claims, and distributing assets to beneficiaries.

Probate can be fairly straightforward or extremely complex, depending on the size of the decedent’s estate and other factors. If you are a family member or a personal representative responsible for settling a deceased person’s estate, contact us at the Law Offices of Keane, Thomas & Pinnacoli. Our dedicated legal team can help you navigate probate and estate administration in the area of Stuart, Florida.

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Florida Probate Lawyer in Stuart

What Assets Are Subject to Probate in Florida?

Generally, every asset the decedent owned is subject to probate, with a few exceptions:

  • Property the decedent owned jointly with a surviving spouse
  • Real estate listed as joint title with right of survivorship
  • Checking, investment, and retirement accounts with designated beneficiaries
  • Assets placed in a revocable living trust during the decedent’s lifetime
  • Personal property, like home furnishings and motor vehicles, up to a certain value

An experienced Florida probate attorney can help you understand which assets in the estate you’re settling require probate.

The Probate Process

Depending on their value, Florida estates may go through one of two probate processes:

  • Summary Probate. Small estates worth up to $75,000 (aside from probate-exempt property) may go through summary probate administration, a simpler, faster, and cheaper legal procedure compared to formal probate. Summary probate may also be an option for large estates if the decedent had passed at least two years ago.
  • Formal Probate. Formal probate administration is the standard procedure for estates with over $75,000 worth of probate assets. Formal probate starts with filing a petition with the probate court, after which the court will authorize a personal representative (usually the person the decedent appointed in their will) to begin estate administration. After the representative settles the estate and distributes the remainder of the assets, the probate court will officially close the estate.

Formal probate administration usually takes between six and nine months in Florida. This timeframe includes the three-month deadline creditors have to file claims. However, probate may drag out if the estate is very large or complex, or if disputes arise during the process.

When to File for Probate

Timing is important when you’re preparing to file for probate. It’s usually advisable to assess the decedent’s debts and creditors before filing. You may need to follow a certain procedure to declare specific assets as exempt from creditor claims.

However, delaying probate is also unwise since the personal representative needs the probate court to give them authority to secure and manage the estate. Also, distribution of assets to beneficiaries can’t take place until the probate is complete. Our competent probate attorneys can let you know when to file for probate at the right time and help you handle all probate court procedures.

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As a personal representative, you will be under a fiduciary duty to act according to the decedent’s wishes and in the best interests of the beneficiaries. Our skilled probate lawyers can help you handle all estate administration tasks correctly and efficiently.

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Avoiding Probate

It’s possible to avoid probate with timely estate planning. Placing property in a revocable living trust allows trust assets to pass directly to beneficiaries after the grantor’s death, bypassing probate in Florida.

You might think a will can help avoid probate, but this is not true. However, a clear, detailed will can make probate simpler compared to situations when there’s no will or when the will doesn’t cover all the estate’s assets.

If you’re still working on your estate plan, contact us at the Law Offices of Keane, Thomas & Pinnacoli for efficient legal strategies that may help your estate avoid probate.

Do You Need a Probate Attorney?

If you’re responsible for settling a very small estate, you may be able to handle probate without a lawyer. In other situations, working with a reputable probate attorney can give you invaluable legal support and potentially shorten probate. You definitely need a probate lawyer if you’re dealing with a large and complex estate, if the decedent left no will, or in case an inheritance dispute arises.

Our team at the Law Offices of Keane, Thomas & Pinnacoli has handled nearly every possible estate- and probate-related matter in over 25 years of legal practice. Our probate lawyers can:

  • Handle all the legal processes of the probate court
  • Help with the full scope of estate administration, from sourcing asset appraisals to filing the decedent’s final tax documentation
  • Examine creditor claims and provide guidance on debt repayment
  • Assist with resolving probate disputes and handle probate litigation
  • Make sure you comply with your fiduciary duty and avoid legal mistakes as a personal representative in Florida

The Law Offices of Keane, Thomas & Pinnacoli: Simplifying Probate and Estate Administration in Stuart, FL

Probate in Florida could involve months of complicated legal and administrative work, which may be especially difficult if you’re also grieving the loss of a family member. A reliable estate and probate lawyer can help you get through this challenging time with less stress.

At the Law Offices of Keane, Thomas & Pinnacoli, we have over 25 years of experience providing reliable probate and estate administration services across the Treasure Coast.

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Royal Palm Financial Center
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The Law Offices of Keane Thomas & Pinnacoli

789 SW Federal Hwy., Suite 310,
Stuart, FL 34994

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