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Probate

Fort Myers Probate Attorney

Compassionate Probate Representation in Lee County

Losing a loved one is never easy, no matter the circumstances, and the last thing you want to worry about in the following days and weeks is the bureaucracy of administrating a family member’s estate. However, probate matters require representation by an attorney. Hiring a capable legal professional can make this ill-timed process easier.

At The Law Office of Kelly L. Fayer, P.A., our probate attorneys in Fort Myers are passionate about helping members of our community efficiently navigate these difficult moments. We will work to guide you through the legal process as quickly and painlessly as possible. 

We have many years of experience working with personal representatives to manage all aspects of estate administration, including any disputes or complications that may arise. Our Florida firm also assists family members from other states who need assistance navigating Florida probate. 

Our Florida  firm regularly serves clients in Bonita Springs, Cape Coral, Estero, Fort Myers, Lehigh Acres, and North Fort Myers.

Call (239) 208-0189 or contact us online to request an initial consultation with a Fort Myers probate lawyer near you.

How Probate Works in Florida

When a person passes away, someone – typically the personal representative named in their will – must contact the appropriate court and ask to start probate. The court will evaluate the will (if one exists) and generally appoint the deceased’s requested personal representative to oversee the process. If there is no valid will, the court will choose an alternate personal representative, typically the most immediate surviving family member.

The personal representative will be responsible for many important estate administration tasks, including:

  • Gathering, inventorying, and appraising estate assets
  • Notifying heirs, beneficiaries, and creditors
  • Reviewing and paying valid creditor claims (using estate funds)
  • Filing and paying the deceased person’s assets (using estate funds)
  • Communicating and filing paperwork with the probate court
  • Representing the estate in any disputes
  • Distributing assets to beneficiaries

Assets cannot be given to beneficiaries until all other matters are settled and the personal representative gets permission from the probate court. Depending on the size and contents of the estate, one or more probate strategies may be available to expedite this process. 

How Much Does Probate Cost In Florida?

The cost of probate in Florida varies based on the complexity of the estate and any unique circumstances that may be involved. The Law Office of Kelly L. Fayer, P.A. understands the value of transparency and providing accurate information to clients as a respectable estate planning firm in Florida. While our probate attorney in Fort Myers, FL cannot provide an exact cost for probate without first examining the specifics of your case, below are some factors that may affect the cost of probate in Florida:

  • Complexity of the Estate: Estates with numerous assets, complex financial holdings, or business interests typically require more time and effort to administer, resulting in higher costs.
  • Estate Size & Value: Larger estates with substantial assets may incur higher fees due to additional paperwork, appraisals, and accounting requirements.
  • Types of Assets Involved: Assets such as real estate, business interests, and investment portfolios may require appraisals, valuations, or specialized expertise, which can increase expenses.
  • Disputes or Contested Issues: Issues such as will contests or beneficiary disagreements can lead to additional legal fees and court costs.
  • Attorney Fees and Professional Services: Fees charged professionals involved in the process, such as attorneys, appraisers, accountants, or tax advisors, can impact the overall cost of probate.
  • Court Fees and Filing Costs: Florida imposes court fees and filing costs for probate proceedings. These fees can vary depending on the size and complexity of the estate.
  • Debts and Creditors: Addressing outstanding debts and claims from creditors can impact costs. Resolving these matters may require additional legal work and potential negotiations.

It's important to consult with a qualified Fort Myers probate lawyer to assess the factors relevant to your case and obtain an accurate estimate of the probate costs involved. A skilled lawyer can guide you through the process, help minimize unnecessary expenses, and ensure a smooth administration of the estate.

Curious about how much the probate process might cost you? Do not hesitate to connect with a probate attorney in Fort Myers, FL at The Law Office of Kelly L. Fayer, P.A..

How Long Does Probate Take in Florida?

The probate process may take several months to several years depending on a few factors:

  • Estates with numerous assets, complex financial holdings, or business interests may require additional time to gather information, resolve any legal issues, and distribute assets properly.
  • If the deceased individual left a valid will, the probate process may be smoother and potentially faster. The court usually gives deference to the wishes outlined in the will, which can expedite parts of the probate process.
  • Disputes or contests regarding the validity of the will or claims from beneficiaries or creditors can prolong the process. 
  • The efficiency and caseload of the probate court can impact the timeline. Court availability, scheduling of hearings, and the overall workload of the court system can affect how quickly the probate process progresses.
  • Meeting all legal requirements and fulfilling obligations, such as notifying creditors, filing necessary documents, and resolving outstanding debts, is crucial. Delays can occur if there are any omissions, errors, or complications in meeting these requirements.

Consult with a qualified Fort Myers probate attorney to get a more accurate estimate how long your probate process may take. We can help minimize unnecessary delays and ensure a smooth administration of your estate when the time comes.

Can I Avoid Probate in Florida?

It's possible to avoid probate in Florida using various estate planning strategies. One common method is establishing a revocable living trust. By transferring your assets into this trust, they technically don't go through the probate process. Instead, they are managed by a successor trustee you've appointed, and they are distributed to your beneficiaries outside of court oversight. This can significantly speed up the process and maintain privacy.

Another way to avoid probate is to name beneficiaries for assets like life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and payable-on-death bank accounts. These assets are given directly to the designated beneficiaries. Because the asset automatically passes to the surviving owner after your death when you have joint ownership with rights of survivorship, probate may also be avoided.

But not all assets can be easily exempted from probate, and the success of these methods may vary depending on your particular situation. To determine the best strategies for your situation, you must speak with an experienced probate attorney in Fort Myers, FL.

Contact The Law Office of Kelly L. Fayer, P.A. Today

Our Fort Myers probate attorney can help personal representatives explore and pursue these options. We will work with you through every step of the probate process to ensure that your best interests are protected. If you have been named as a personal representative in your loved one’s will and are not sure what to do next, do not hesitate to reach out.

Call (239) 208-0189 or contact us to speak to a Fort Myers probate attorney near you.

  • "I would highly recommend her for any estate, wills, and preplanning, should an unexpected incident happen. She was kind, took her time, and explained everything in lawyer ease!"
    Carol Colombo
  • "Kelly is very compassionate and professional. She honestly cares about her clients."
    Nancy
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    Kelly L. Fayer

    "Kelly L. Fayer received her Juris Doctor from Washington and Lee University School of Law in 1997, and established her law firm in 2006. Dedicated to serving those in need, she won The Florida Bar Pro Bono Service Award for 2019, and was 1 of 20 attorneys in the state honored at the Florida Supreme Court."

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