Trusted Legal Guidance for Probate and Estate Administration in Miami

Navigating the probate process in Florida can be challenging, which is why you should consider enlisting the guidance of a knowledgeable probate lawyer. As an attorney with over four decades of estate administration and probate experience, I’m prepared to provide you with top-notch legal assistance at every step of the probate process. Reach out to Susan E. Durre today to learn more about how I can ease the probate process and help you and your loved ones obtain the best possible outcome.

Defining Probate in Florida

Probate is a court-supervised process where the decedent’s assets are assessed and used to pay off the decedent’s outstanding debts. The remaining assets are then distributed to the decedent’s beneficiaries. In Florida, there are two types of probate administration: formal administration and summary administration. Generally, summary administration tends to be more simple than formal administration. Probate cases are filed in the county where the decedent had his/her permanent residence. If the decedent’s residence was outside of Miami-Dade County but owned real property in Miami-Dade, the main probate case is in the decedent’s county of residence and an “ancillary probate” is filed in Miami-Dade to process just the real estate in Miami-Dade.

What Probate Entails

Probate only applies to probate assets: those that the decedent owned in his or her sole name at the time of death or those that the decedent owned along with one or more co-owners and did not have the provision for automatic succession upon the owner’s death. Examples of probate assets may include:

  • Bank accounts
  • Investment accounts
  • Life insurance policies payable to the decedent’s estate
  • Real estate titled in the sole name of the decedent

Probate is an important step to pass ownership of the decedent’s probate assets to their beneficiaries. If the decedent left a will, the probate court must determine its validity before the estate administration process can begin. If the decedent died without a will, probate would be necessary to distribute the decedent’s assets in the order specified under Florida law.

The Role of the Personal Representative

The personal representative has many duties, including identifying and gathering the decedent’s assets, publishing a “Notice to Creditors” in a local newspaper, paying valid claims, filing tax returns, and distributing assets to the beneficiaries. Typically, the judge will appoint the person or institution named in the will to serve as the personal representative; however, if there was no will, then a surviving spouse or another trustworthy individual may be elected to assume this role. If the personal representative mismanages the probate estate in any way, he or she may be held liable to the beneficiaries for any harm they may have suffered.

Over 40 Years of Probate Experience

As an estate planning lawyer in Miami-Dade County, I am more than qualified to provide the legal counsel you need. Over the course of more than four decades, I served as chair of the Probate Section of the Miami-Dade County Bar Association. I also served on the Board of Directors of the Alliance for Aging, Inc., a local agency providing services to elderly residents throughout Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties, serving as its Treasurer in 2002. I am AV® Rated by Martindale-Hubbell® in recognition of the ethical and legal standards I strive to apply in every case. Do not hesitate to contact me for help with your estate planning needs.

Probate Guidance You Can Trust

As a probate attorney, I understand that the process can be difficult. For families struggling with probate after losing a loved one, I can provide compassionate and effective assistance to minimize stress throughout the process. I consider it the highest honor to represent my clients during this difficult time. My primary goal is to facilitate a resolution of the process that honors the wishes of your loved one and provides the best possible benefits for your family. Reach out to Susan E. Durre today to learn more.

Do You Have a Question for the Attorney?

Schedule a complimentary consultation with an experienced Coral Gables probate lawyer by calling Susan E. Durre at (503) 444-4042 today.