Schinder Law handles all aspects of probate administration. Wills and probate are among the most complex aspects of estate planning and require an experienced lawyer to protect your estate. The Law Office of Barry S. Schinder, P.A., provides expert advice on the best ways to create peace of mind for you and your family through a well thought out will, living trust, or some other legal document that reflects your wishes to distribute your assets. Mr. Schinder proudly serves clients throughout Hollywood, Florida and the greater South Florida area.
Probate administration is the process of distributing a decedent’s assets in circuit court, after a probate judge validates and approves a person’s will. Assuming the decedent has left a valid will, the property will be distributed in accordance with the decedent’s wishes, as outlined in his or her will. The process starts by filing a copy of the will, along with the filing fee, with the clerk of the circuit court in the county where the decedent lived at the time of death.
Not all property is transferred from the decedent to the new owner through probate. For example, a jointly-owned asset that allows a person to name a beneficiary, such as a life insurance policy, an annuity, or an IRA, is not controlled by a will. Such property typically transfers to the new owner by operation of law (outside of probate).
If a person dies without a will (intestate), or if the will is found for some reason to be invalid, then the probate judge will distribute the decedent’s property to the heirs in accordance with Florida law. Contrary to popular belief, the probate assets are almost never turned over to the State, even when a person dies without a will.
There are very specific rules that govern the process to make and execute a will in Florida. The Florida Probate Code is found in Chapters 731 – 735 of the Florida Statutes. In addition to the Probate Code, there are numerous probate rules that govern the probate process. A will does not increase probate expenses. Quite the opposite, in most instances a will simplifies the process and reduces the costs of administering the estate and distributing the real and personal property to the decedent’s named beneficiaries.
Generally speaking, a will is a writing signed before witnesses by the person making it, stating with specificity, who should get his or her property at the time of his or her death. A will also typically names the personal representative (executor) who the decedent trusts to manage the estate property and settle the decedent’s financial affairs.
If the laws are not strictly adhered to then the will, despite being perfectly drawn up in accordance with a person’s desires, may be entirely void. Since a will does not become final until death, it may be changed an unlimited number of times, so long as each change is properly executed and follows the exact formalities required by Florida law. Mr. Schinder has over 20 years experience in probate administration and drafting wills that vary from a simple will to a very complex will that distributes assets in excess of $100 million.
Call the Law Office of Barry S. Schinder, P.A., for advice about drafting your will, minimizing tax liability, and providing your family with peace of mind in the event of death or a sudden incapacitating incident that interferes with your ability to make decisions about personal finances and healthcare alternatives.