Attorney in Christ
Let me explain the white Attorney in Christ seal. By faith alone I received eternal life as a free gift from Jesus Christ. I strive to glorify Him in all that I do, including my law practice. In my life, I fall short of that goal at times, but I press on. God does not discriminate against people because of their race, faith, age, gender or any other factor. He loves everyone and offers the free gift of salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ, God in the flesh. I enjoy praying with clients of like faith, and seeking God’s help in all that we do. Because God does not discriminate in His love, I do not discriminate in my legal practice. I answer my own telephone at 321.779.1211 and welcome your call. Probate Attorney │+Personal Legal Care+
Probate in Indialantic, FL 32903
32903 Probate Attorney │ LawOnline Probate │ 321.779.1211
If you need help with a probate case in Indialantic, FL 32903, then I welcome you to LawOnline Probate. I attended Indialantic Elementary School and Hoover Junior High, both in Indialantic. I call Indialantic my home. My office is nearby in Satellite Beach, FL 32937. After graduating from Satellite High School in 1974, I graduated from the University of South Florida in 1977, and the University of Florida Law School (with honors) in 1990. If you cannot come to my office, LawOnLine Probate may provide the legal help you need. We can work together using email, Skype, fax and other means of electronic communications. My practice involves helping people who live outside of Florida pursue probate proceedings in Indialantic, FL 32903. I have represented people living in other states with their probate needs in Florida. 32903 Probate Attorney │ LawOnline Probate │321.779.1211
32903 Probate Attorney │ LawOnline Probate │321.779.1211
Summary Administration: Preparing for Court Filing
A Florida probate estate may qualify for summary administration under different circumstances. If the estate qualifies, then we must work together to prepare certain paperwork for filing with the court. We must take the following steps before we file the paperwork in court. Be sure not to make any payments, distribute any assets, or take any action regarding the property of the decedent without talking with me first. You need to be very careful in how you handle those assets and pay those bills. You can always pay any bills from your own assets, but keep receipts. Even then, I urge you to talk with me before you spend any money or distribute any assets. For example, do not transfer any motor vehicles until you talk with me first.
You will need a copy of the death certificate for many different things. Often the funeral home will provide some copies to you. You may obtain more copies of the death certificate, with or without cause of death, online. In many instances, you will not need the cause of death stated on the death certificate. To obtain copies, click the link below.
Make a diligent search to find the will. After locating the will, please make several copies of the will. If the will is bound to other papers or stapled, leave the will just as you found it. Do not remove the staples or unbind the will. Make the best copies you can. Deposit the original will of the decedent at any Brevard County Courthouse within ten days of death (Section 732.901 Florida Statutes). The original will deserves careful attention. Therefore, when practical, I suggest you deposit the will in person at the Brevard County Courthouse. Be sure that the clerk provides you with a receipt for the will. They normally do so without you having to ask. They are very helpful. Also, keep the receipt the Clerk gives to you. Please send me a copy of the receipt.
In Summary Administration especially, we must list all the known creditors in the initial court paperwork. Therefore, I recommend taking a little time to be sure we know who the creditors are. As a first step, be sure to collect all the mail available for the decedent, and note the name and address of each creditor of the decedent, and the amount owed. We may need to wait month or so to be sure that we have received all the bills and other important mail before we file the probate paperwork. Please send me a complete list of the bills, and update it as you receive bills. Before you pay any bills, I recommend that you speak with me.
Try to obtain a credit report for the decedent. I suggest you contact all three credit reporting agencies listed below. It may help to send them a copy of any power of attorney you may have, showing that you had authority to act for the decedent during the decedent’s liftetime (the durable power lost is power when the decedent died). In some cases, a credit reporting agency may accept that power of attorney as authority for providing a credit report for the decedent. At any rate, I suggest you contact the three major credit reporting agencies and see if they will provide a credit report. Often they require a detailed letter requesting a credit report for the decedent along with your name, your relationship to the decedent, a copy of his utility bill, a copy of the death certificate to the following addresses:
TransUnion LLC P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022
Equifax Information Services LLC Office of Consumer Affairs
Pa Box 105139
Atlanta, GA 30348
P.O. Box 2002
Allen, TX 75013
Try to find the name and address of each person listed as a beneficiary under the will. After locating them, please send me that information. Please do not make distributions to beneficiaries without first talking with me. We need to determine what assets exist, are any assets exempt from the claims of creditors, and then pay creditors and distribute assets.
Final Tax Return
Please check with your accountant to see if the decedent needed to file a final tax return. We need to know if a tax refund is due and to whom it is payable. If a tax refund is coming, then we may need to distribute it in the probate paperwork. If taxes are due, then we will need to discuss how the tax payment shall be made.
Be sure to locate all life insurance policies and make appropriate claims for benefits. I suggest you review the website of the insurance company or telephone them. Normally, they will want a letter from you and also a copy of the death certificate. It may make a difference regarding the named beneficiaries on the policy. Please send me a copy of each life insurance policy.
You may be entitled to government benefits from Social Security, Veteran’s Affairs, Florida Retirement System or another government agency. Please be sure to contact them so that you may receive the benefits earned by the decedent.
Please search the Florida unclaimed property records. You may click the following link: https://www.fltreasurehunt.org/ControlServlet?ActionForm=GotoNewPublicSearch. The decedent may have left money behind that someone deposited with the State of Florida. For example, the funds in bank accounts that seem abandoned by the owner may be sent to the State of Florida for safekeeping. You may want to search in your own name to see if you have unclaimed money with the State of Florida.
Some bank and financial accounts pass automatically at death to another person listed on the paperwork with the bank or the financial account. Even so, the bank or financial institution often requires proof of death. So, be sure to locate any bank statements or financial statements and contact the bank or financial institution. They will often want a death certificate and signature proof from you. You can call them and check their website for details. In some cases, they will not disclose any information because of confidentiality concerns.
Try to locate the title and registration for each vehicle. We need to take action regarding each vehicle owned by the decedent. In some cases, title to the vehicle may have passed to another person automatically at death. In other cases, we may need to present paperwork to the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles, and take care of the matter through probate. Please do not transfer the vehicle at the DMV before you talk me. Creditors may have claims upon the vehicle or other matters may affect the transfer of vehicles.
Please locate and describe all the assets of the decedent. We need a complete list of all assets, including household items (general list (household items, automobile, bank account, and list any items of special value (more than $100.00 listed separately—special jewelry, art work, etc.). All real estate and personal property must be included on the list.
I will also send you a probate questionnaire to fill out. Please return (email is fine) the questionnaire and I can begin preparing the paperwork. If we do not list all the creditors, then you may still owe the debts if you receive distribution from the probate court. Likewise, if we do not list an asset, then we may have to file further paperwork in court to dispose of that asset later. So, we try our best to find all the assets and all the creditors before we file the probate paperwork.
Publication of Notice to Creditors
On a final note, the law provides an opportunity to shorten the time that creditors have to file a claim by advertising a notice to creditors. For estates qualifying for summary administration, I normally do not recommend the expense of publishing a notice in the newspaper, but please be aware the law provides a way to shorten the time a creditor may have to file a claim against the probate estate. If you have any questions, please contact me.
Summary Administration: No Personal Representative
Please take notice that in Summary Administration, the probate court will not appoint a Personal Representative for the probate estate. Instead, the Summary Administration produces an Order of Summary Administration describing the distribution of assets. You can use that order to show the bank or other financial institutions and hopefully they will follow the order.
Florida Probate Basics
If your case does not qualify for Summary Administration, I can still help you with another form of probate administration. Often we turn to Formal Administration. In Formal Administration, the Court appoints a Personal Representative who has legal authority to handle many legal issues. I have been practicing in the Indialantic, FL 32903 area for many years. Therefore, I have experience in the Brevard County Probate Court. No matter what form of probate may be best, the probate process often starts with a petition for administration. In a Petition for Formal Administration, someone petitions to be the personal representative of the probate estate. So, Formal Administration provides a path for moving the estate through the court process. In addition, the Personal Representative must perform certain actions: inventory, notice to creditors, notifying interested parties, accounting for finances, distributing assets. Also, the Personal Representative has many duties under probate law. Likewise, probate involves creditors. The Personal Representative must conduct a diligent search for creditors. The Personal Representative may object to improper claims, The Personal Representative must also pay proper claims, distribute assets, and provide an accounting. Closing the probate estate also takes more paperwork. I am familiar with the process.
I answer my own telephone at 321.779.1211 and welcome your call. I do not provide legal advice during the free consultation, but we can discuss your concerns.