Probate, Estate, & Trust Administration
Greg R. Garner is equipped with the knowledge and experience necessary to assist you and your family with handling the affairs of a loved one that has passed away. He has helped hundreds of families throughout Central Florida navigate the complex issues and legal requirements involved with the administration of an estate or a trust.
Probate and Estate Administration:
Probate is a legal term describing the court-supervised process used for the administration of a deceased person’s estate. While every probate and estate administration proceeding is unique, the following issues are typically addressed and completed during the process:
• Verifying the authenticity of the deceased person’s Last Will and Testament (if they had one)
• Providing proper legal notice to all of the estate's beneficiaries
• Appointing a Personal Representative (also known as an Executor or Administrator) to administer the estate
• Identifying, gathering, and appraising the deceased person’s property and assets
• Ensuring the deceased person’s outstanding debts and taxes are paid
• Distributing the remaining property and assets to the estate’s beneficiaries
The length of time needed to complete the probate and estate administration process varies depending on a number of factors - the size of the estate; the number of beneficiaries; the presence or absence of a Last Will and Testament; the number of creditors; and whether or not there are any problems, issues, or disputes.
We will guide you along every step of the way to ensure that everything is handled properly according to Florida law. Our goal is to make the process as smooth as possible, knowing that you and your family members are still in the grieving process. We can handle a broad range of probate and estate administration matters, ranging from small and simple estates with a single bank accoun, to large and complex estates with a significant amount of property and assets.
While the court has to be involved when the deceased person either had a Last Will and Testament (known as a "testate" estate) or did not have one (known as an "intestate" estate), the court does not normally have to be involved if the deceased person had a trust in place at the time of their passing. Although the court is not normally involved in the administration of a trust, it is highly recommended that the Trustee of the trust seek competent and experienced legal counsel since the Trustee has a number of fiduciary and legal duties to the deceased person's creditors and the trust's beneficiaries. If the Trustee's duties are not handled in the proper manner, he or she can be exposed to personal liability. Depending on the terms and conditions of the trust, the trust administration process can usually be completed more quickly than the probate and estate administration process described above.
Probate, Estate, and Trust Litigation:
Should any problems, issues, or disputes arise during the probate or trust administration process, we are experienced in zealously representing the interests and rights of Personal Representatives, Trustees, and beneficiaries. We seek to help our clients achieve a fair and just resolution, either in the form of a settlement of the dispute outside of the courtroom or litigating the dispute inside the courtroom. These disputes typically involve the following issues:
• Undue influence
• Lack of mental capacity
• Breach of fiduciary duty
• Authenticity of a will or trust
• Beneficiary disputes
• Contested accountings
• Creditors’ claims
We understand and appreciate the complex legal, financial, and emotional issues involved when these types of disputes arise, and are prepared to do whatever is necessary to ensure that your legal rights and interests are fully protected.
If you have questions regarding the Florida probate and estate administration process, the Florida trust administration process, or need assistance, guidance, or representation in your particular case, please feel free to contact The Law Office of Greg R. Garner, P.A. to schedule a free initial consultation.