When You Face A Tough Legal Problem
Don’t Get Burned
  1. Home
  2.  » 
  3. Estate Planning And Probate
  4.  » Estate Planning And Probate FAQ

Estate And Probate Law Is Complex, But You Can Find Answers

Whether you recently lost a loved one or you wish to create estate planning documents of your own, you are probably wondering what the next step is. These two areas of the law can intersect with many others, including family law. There are many administrative procedures to follow that can become confusing and expensive.

The counsel of an attorney can prove to be invaluable in a situation like this. Attorney James M. Burns has more than 20 years of experience handling estate administration, probate and estate planning legal issues. At The Law Office of James M. Burns, he has answered hundreds of questions that clients throughout Florida and Alabama have asked, including the following.

Why Do I Need A Will?

Every adult should have a last will and testament to ensure that their assets go to the beneficiaries they prefer in the event of unexpected death. A will can also prevent or minimize probate, which makes the process much easier on your surviving loved ones.

What Happens If Someone Dies Without A Will?

When someone dies intestate, or without a valid will, in Florida, the court takes control of their estate and distributes the assets according to the state’s intestacy succession laws.

What Are The Benefits Of Establishing A Trust?

Trusts are arrangements that allow one person to place money or property aside for a beneficiary. The assets in a trust are not subject to taxes and have more protection from creditors. You can also impose certain conditions on the distribution of assets in the trust.

What Is The Difference Between Summary And Formal Administration?

If an estate has a value of less than $75,000, then it can go through summary administration – a very simple form of estate administration that typically takes less time and money than formal administration. (Alabama refers to summary as “short administration” and formal administration as “long administration”). Complex estates must go through formal administration, which involves additional steps such as marshaling liquid assets and appointing a personal representative.

What Are The Duties Of A Personal Representative?

When someone dies, a personal representative – also called an executor – administers the decedent’s estate. This involves:

  • Paying creditors
  • Taking inventory of assets
  • Taking a final accounting
  • Distributing assets to beneficiaries

If the decedent did not name a personal representative, then the court will appoint one.

Ask More Questions, Get More Answers

If this page did not answer all your questions, reach out to Mr. Burns. He can sit down with you one-on-one to speak in-depth about your estate planning, estate administration or probate concerns. To schedule an initial consultation with him, call 850-930-3018 or send him an email.