Attorneys in Florida are well aware of the hassles and headaches that families face when a loved one’s estate goes into probate. The process can drag out, eating up not just time but also resources that would have otherwise gone to beneficiaries. Appointed executors find themselves with burdensome responsibilities which can compound their grief. In order to navigate the process as quickly and smoothly as possible, we recommend you keep the following in mind:
Probate Tip #1: Work With An Experienced Attorney
It may be tempting to navigate probate alone, but a good probate lawyer will help you streamline the process and save significant time and money for your family. Remember, probate can take months, and sometimes years, to complete, so it’s best to work with an attorney who can guide your steps and help you finalize your loved one’s affairs as quickly as possible.
Probate Tip #2: Notify Creditors Quickly
The probate court requires that you notify all creditors of your loved one’s death. As long as the probate is open, creditors can come looking for payment, which can significantly slow down the process. Instead, it is better to get everything lined up as quickly as possible to be able to move on to the next phase.
Probate Tip #3: Get an Appraised Inventory
As the executor works to administer the estate, he or she should be creating an inventory of its assets and getting appraisals when appropriate on personal effects, real estate, or other assets. Your probate attorney will help to ensure this is done in a timely manner and in line with the rules of the probate court.
Probate Tip #4: Don’t Miss Deadlines
There are specific deadlines set for when documents need to be filed. Missing these deadlines will lead to the need for more court appearances (read: time, hassle, and money), as well as keeping probate open—and the estate vulnerable—for that much longer.
Probate Tip #5: Keep Accurate Records
The creditor claim period can vary from state to state, which is another excellent reason to work with a local probate lawyer in Florida. Once this period has ended, the trustee will file the final report and accounting. Having these numbers ready to go and double-checking them for accuracy helps get the estate closed faster.
There’s no doubt that seeing an estate through probate offers some stress and potential confusion. A good probate lawyer in Florida will minimize this stress, and utilizing these simple probate tips can get the estate and all those connected to it through the process that much faster.