Citrus County Probate Lawyer
Handling a probate matter after the death of a loved one can be emotional and frustrating. No one wants their families to have to deal with challenging legal issues at such a difficult time. Proper estate planning can give you and your family peace of mind for the future. At KOVACH & BAKER, we have over 20 years of legal experience helping countless individuals prepare their estate and work through the probate process.
What is Probate?
Probate is the process by which assets passing through a will or under the rules of intestacy are distributed to the appropriate beneficiaries or heirs. A personal representative ensures that taxes and creditors are paid and that the beneficiaries take clean title to their distributions. Many difficulties can arise when probating an estate, so it is wise to retain the services of a probate lawyer to assist you in this process. In fact in Florida, with rare exception, you must hire a lawyer to represent you in probate proceedings.
An estate is the total of someone’s assets and property and generally, probate occurs regardless of whether the deceased had a will. If he or she had a will, the probate process allows the heirs to inherit specified assets or property. If the deceased passed without a will, or died “intestate,” state law determines who receives the assets. Florida intestacy laws list a prioritized order of family members who will receive the assets, starting with the surviving spouse. If there are no surviving relatives, the deceased’s estate will be taken by the state of Florida.
In some cases, a will does not need to be probated. Additionally, certain assets do not need to be probated either, since the ownership rights automatically pass to the deceased’s heirs. For example, if you create a living trust, the assets in the trust do not have to be probated. Whether or not an estate is required to go through the probate process depends on the type of asset and the circumstances of the case. For more information and assistance, contact KOVACH & BAKER today.
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At KOVACH & BAKER, we will help you plan the proper distribution of your property upon your death.