Call Today: (727) 900-7290
Call Today: (727) 900-7290

Probate

St. Petersburg Probate Lawyer

St. Petersburg Probate Lawyer

Losing a loved one is a traumatic event that can present real challenges for those left behind. In some cases, probate can add months or years to the time needed to wrap up financial issues and disbursement of assets associated with the estate. This is especially true for individuals who pass away without a will or estate plan. Seeking the help of a qualified St. Petersburg probate attorney can provide added help in navigating this process and making sure it is completed as quickly as possible. Your lawyer will work with you to streamline the process and to ensure the best results for you and your family after a loved one passes away.

At Centonzio Law, we can help you deal with issues related to settling an estate and probate proceedings. Our experienced attorneys will work with you to provide the most complete and accurate information on the progress of your probate case and the steps we take on your behalf to resolve problems or issues that may arise during this complicated and lengthy process. This can speed up your probate proceedings and can ensure the best outcomes for yourself and your family in the Florida court system.

What Is Probate?

In the state of Florida, probate is a legal process that occurs after the death of an individual to identify all the assets, resources and debts associated with his or her estate. The court system oversees this process and appoints an executor who serves as the administrator for the estate. The executor of the estate has the authority to pay bills, dispose of property and distribute the proceeds of those sales and other assets to the heirs and beneficiaries of the deceased person, also known as the decedent.

The length of time needed to complete the probate process will depend on a few factors, including the following:

  • Whether a will exists indicating the wishes of the decedent
  • If any challenges to that will have been made by potential heirs or individuals listed in the will
  • The size of the estate and the number of assets and debts to identify, value and distribute
  • The number of potential heirs and the ease with which they can be identified and located
  • The complexity of the overall estate plan

St. Petersburg probate lawyer Javier Centonzio and the entire legal team at Centonzio Law will work with you and your family to make the probate process as painless as possible. This can provide you with greater peace of mind during the time period following the loss of someone you love.

Does Every Decedent’s Estate Pass Through Probate?

Some estates are exempt from probate proceedings. This can reduce the time needed to resolve the estate’s debts and assets. Working with a qualified St. Petersburg attorney who specializes in these cases can provide real help in managing the process more smoothly and in the most timely way. Estates are generally exempted from probate for one of the two following reasons:

  • Cases in which the decedent’s estate contains no probate assets: Not all assets are subject to probate. For example, certain bank accounts and real estate holdings that are jointly held by a couple are considered to be the property of the surviving spouse and are not part of the estate for purposes of probate. Bank accounts should generally be set up to be payable on death to the surviving owner to ensure these protections. The payout on life insurance policies are exempt from probate unless the listed beneficiaries are already deceased or are ineligible to receive the proceeds. Living trusts are also not covered by probate proceedings and are separate legal entities that own property and make investments on their own behalf. By placing assets and financial resources into these trusts and other non-probate arrangements, it may be possible for individuals to eliminate the need for probate altogether.
  • Cases in which the decedent owned little property: Smaller estates may also be exempted from probate proceedings under Florida statutes. Depending on the size of the estate, the executor or attorney charged with these responsibilities may file a legal request for the disposition of personal property without administration. These options are only available for estates that contain no real estate holdings and that have assets sufficient to cover all outstanding debts and obligations or that are exempt from creditor claims.

The probate lawyers at Centonzio Law will provide you with professional legal advice to determine whether probate is required for your loved one’s estate and will work with you throughout the process. If you need help in identifying assets, paying debts or any other issues related to the disposition of the estate, our experienced probate attorneys can provide you with the right solutions and the most effective strategies for dealing with this process in the state of Florida.

Summary Administration – A Probate “Shortcut”

For estates that are required to go through the probate process, your St. Petersburg probate attorney may be able to provide other alternatives to reduce the time needed to settle these estates. Summary administration is considered a shortcut to the standard process and can streamline the process for many of our clients. Florida law restricts summary administration to estates with probate assets that value less than $75,000 or to estates where the decedent has been dead for more than two years.

The purpose of summary administration is to reduce the time needed for probate proceedings. The process begins when the executor of the estate or an heir files a petition with the court. If all parties and potential heirs and beneficiaries are in agreement with this streamlined approach, the court can establish summary administration for the estate. This allows the release of assets and financial resources to the appropriate individuals, including the creditors and the heirs to the estate. Summary administration can significantly reduce the time needed to resolve all issues involved with paying off debts and to provide the remaining assets to the heirs the decedent left behind.

Not every estate can qualify for summary administration. At Centonzio Law, we are committed to providing you and all our clients with the most effective solutions to suit your scenario. We work on your behalf to reduce the stress and worry you may be feeling. This can help you to deal with the passing of your loved one and the changes in your life more effectively. St. Petersburg Probate Lawyer Javier Centonzio will work with you to help make this process as painless as possible for you and your family.

Overview of the Probate Process

Estates that are not eligible for any of the methods of disposition of personal property without administration, probate avoidance or Summary Administration must go through Formal Probate Administration if any probate assets are present in the estate. Your lawyer will begin by looking for a will that may have been left behind by the deceased individual. In cases where a will is in place, the decedent is referred to as testate. Estates with no will or in which the will is not accepted as valid are considered intestate and require a different process during probate. If the will is accepted, the personal representative or executor named in the will can be appointed to carry out the instructions left in this legal document.

After the appointment of the Personal Representative of the estate, this individual will notify all heirs and potential beneficiaries that probate has begun. The process includes a number of necessary steps, including the following:

  • Compiling an inventory of all probate assets associated with the decedent’s estate, including real estate and personal property
  • Notifying all known and potential creditors of the probate proceedings to allow for the filing of claims against the estate in a timely way
  • Paying all valid claims against the estate and dealing with expenses associated with the administration of the decedent’s estate and any final costs
  • Determining the amount of assets remaining in the estate after the payments of administration expenses and creditors and dividing it in accordance with the will of the deceased or, for intestate decedents, under the dictates of Florida law
  • Creating and delivering a final accounting of the claims, expenses and disbursements made from the estate and closing out the probate process

Centonzio Law and Javier Centonzio can provide you and your family with guidance and support throughout the probate process. We can ensure that all tasks associated with your loved one’s estate are managed on time and in accordance with the provisions of Florida Law. This can ensure the fastest resolution for probate proceedings and the most effective sense of closure for you and your family.

Potential Problems During Probate

Working with Centonzio Law can eliminate most problems that can arise during the probate process. More serious legal problems that commonly occur during probate include the following:

  • Failure to provide notice to heirs: In some cases, the potential beneficiaries of the estate may be difficult to find or may not receive the notifications sent to them through the normal methods. These individuals may challenge the probate process, making it take much longer.
  • Challenges to the admission of the will: Heirs and other interested parties may also challenge the validity of the will. This can occur when questions arise about the mental capacity of the deceased individual or when the will appears to be contrary to the laws of the state of Florida.
  • Failure to perform Personal Representative duties in a timely and appropriate way: If the Personal Representative of the estate fails to provide the necessary support for the probate process by failing to meet established deadlines, by allowing the assets of the deceased individual to depreciate or be lost or by failing to meet the duties assigned by the court, the heirs and beneficiaries can potentially file suit to hold the Personal Representative accountable and to request a replacement be assigned by the court.

At Centonzio Law, we are familiar with all aspects of the probate process. Our legal team will work with you at every step of the process to ensure that it is handled in accordance with all provisions of Florida law. This can help you negotiate probate proceedings to achieve the most positive results for yourself and your family. We will work with you to deliver assertive and effective representation for your interests in the probate court setting. This can eliminate unnecessary delays and provide you with faster resolution of your probate proceedings.

Why You Need Help From a Probate Attorney

Choosing a qualified St. Petersburg probate attorney to assist in managing probate proceedings can provide you with several key benefits. Your attorney understands the probate system inside and out, ensuring that all aspects of probate are handled appropriately and in the most timely fashion possible. By entrusting your estate to Javier Centonzio and the Centonzio Law team, you can also take some of the burden away from those you leave behind by relieving them of the responsibility for compiling lists of assets and debts. Our attorneys can handle all of these issues on your behalf after you die, ensuring that your estate is handled in the most practical and positive way.

For families who are currently navigating the probate process, Centonzio Law can offer legal expertise in understanding the documents presented by the Personal Representative of the estate and speeding up the process effectively. We will evaluate all legal documents and inform you of what they mean, allowing you to make the right decisions during this difficult time. Our legal team works with families just like yours to ensure that their rights are protected during the probate process. This can provide you with added peace of mind when awaiting the final resolution of your loved one’s estate.

At Centonzio Law, we are committed to making the probate process easier for our clients. We offer comprehensive help in managing estate planning arrangements that can eliminate or significantly reduce the need for probate proceedings. Once probate has begun, we can offer practical and relevant help that can ensure the best outcomes for your case. Contact us today at 727-900-7290 to schedule an initial consultation with St. Petersburg probate lawyer Javier Centonzio and his probate team. We look forward to the opportunity to serve you.

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