Probate in Florida
Helping Floridians through the probate process
Probate is the supervised process of transferring ownership of property from a deceased person to that person’s devisees or heirs. The probate process can be confusing because various types of property are dealt with in different ways. Most any property a person owned at the time of death must go through the probate process, but there are some exceptions. Property with a proper beneficiary designation such as a bank account, retirement account or life insurance policy, will pass straight to the person named as the beneficiary. Property that is placed in a trust is not subject to the probate process and jointly held property or life estate property is exempt because it transfers upon death as a matter of law.
Burke Blue’s Panama City, Panama City Beach and Sandestin probate attorneys can help you navigate through the complex probate process. During the estate planning process, our attorneys generally try to minimize the size of the probate estate during a person’s life by implementing an estate plan which may utilize trusts, beneficiary designations, properly titled real estate or other legal devices. But when a person with property dies, probate is often unavoidable.
While probate can cost money, tie up assets and delay heirs from taking possession, it does not have to be a hassle. A Burke Blue probate lawyer from our offices in Panama City, Panama City Beach or Sandestin can help. Our probate attorneys understand the process and the laws that apply. We help keep the process on track, working to minimize fees and expenses, distribute property and close the estate as soon as practicable.
Probate disputes and litigation
Unfortunately, sometimes probate disputes are unavoidable. Debts or liabilities the decedent incurred during life can complicate estate administration. Moreover, family strife and uncertainty can lead to challenges to the validity of the will or to the executor’s handling of the estate. When this occurs, it is crucial to promptly contact an experienced probate lawyer if one is not already involved. Otherwise, such disputes can quickly spin out of control, delaying the process and sapping the estate assets with fees and expenses.
The Panama City, Panama City Beach and Sandestin probate attorneys of Burke Blue have handled nearly every type of probate dispute, and have the experience to help executors navigate even the most contentious estate battles. Our probate lawyers represent those on the other side of such disputes as well. If there is reason to believe that a will is invalid or that an executor is not living up to his or her fiduciary duty, a skilled probate attorney at Burke Blue can help aggrieved beneficiaries assert their rights. Additionally, if an heir or devisee simply needs an attorney on their side to assist in navigating the probate process and to ensure that they are receiving all required documentation and notices and that the process is running smoothly, the probate attorneys at Burke Blue can help by representing the individual heir or devisee.
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The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience or contact us online or by phone at 850-769-1414 for Panama City; 850-236-4444 for Panama City Beach; or 850-267-9498 for Sandestin.