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Losing someone you love is already hard; dealing with the legal and financial responsibilities associated with sorting out their affairs makes things even more difficult. “Probate” is one of those responsibilities. This is a Florida court process that you may have to complete if your loved one died without leaving behind a full estate plan. Luckily, our experienced St. Petersburg probate lawyer is here to guide you every step of the way to a quick, efficient resolution and handle all of the paperwork for you so you can focus on mourning and moving forward. Call Osenton Law, P.A., to book a free consultation and learn how we can help you.
What Is Probate?
Probate is a series of steps that the “executor” of a deceased person’s will, or a family member named as a “personal representative” (if there was no will left behind), must go through before any of the decedent’s assets can be legally transferred to their heirs.
The purpose of probate is to ensure that not just anyone can randomly seize a deceased person’s possessions without having a legitimate legal claim to them! It’s also to ensure that the deceased person’s wishes are honored as much as possible, and that any outstanding debts or taxes are paid.
If you are named as the estate executor or personal representative, probate will generally involve:
- Submitting the death certificate to the right probate court, and the will if one existed
- Filing a petition to open probate
- Collecting, inventorying, and appraising all of the decedent’s assets
- Making a plan to take care of those assets until probate is resolved
- Formally notifying the decedent’s creditors and beneficiaries
- Working with creditors to settle remaining debts
- Filing and paying taxes (if applicable)
- Distributing remaining assets to all beneficiaries (either according to the terms of the will or according to Florida’s intestate laws)
- Communicating with the courts
- Paying court fees
- Meeting deadlines and submitting various paperwork
- And more.
Why Work With Our St. Petersburg Probate Lawyer?
Even though probate isn’t designed to be unnecessarily burdensome, it often feels that way for grieving families who are going through it. It can be complicated and confusing to navigate. It involves many hours on your part, and from start to finish the process can take a few months or even a couple of years, depending on how large the estate is (and a few other factors). There are many court fees involved. There’s a lot of formal back and forth that has to take place between you, your loved one’s creditors, the court, other beneficiaries, the bank, and other parties. If you miss deadlines by accident, or make another unintentional mistake, you could incur additional fees or even leave yourself vulnerable to lawsuits by creditors or disgruntled family members.
That’s why getting a local attorney who is familiar with probate to assist you can give you such peace of mind! Our lead St. Petersburg probate lawyer, O. Reginald “Reggie” Osenton, has been helping families simplify probate and avoid legal pitfalls for over 30 years. He understands every part of the process, and he can explain your options and next steps to you in a way that’s easy to comprehend! His law firm offers affordable fee arrangements that you will know about upfront so you don’t have to worry about any surprise costs, and with him on your side, you could potentially save thousands of dollars (and weeks of your time). He is also knowledgeable about estate planning law and bankruptcy law, which may affect your case. Call today to schedule a free consultation and let Osenton Law, P.A. take care of everything.
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Osenton Law, P.A.
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