Estate and Trust Administration
We Help Families Navigate the Estate and Trust Administration Process
At Purcell, Flanagan, Hay & Greene, our trust and estate lawyers help people plan for their future and provide for their loved ones using various legal tools. We also help people navigate the complex legal and emotional process of administering a loved one’s estate when they pass away.
We understand how stressful and confusing it can be in the aftermath of losing a loved one. Moreover, our attorneys are diligent in ensuring that your loved one’s wishes are honored.
Florida’s Probate System
Probate is the court-supervised process for identifying and gathering the assets of a deceased person, paying the decedent’s debts, and distributing assets to the rightful beneficiaries. Once the estate has been fully administered and assets distributed, the estate is closed, and the personal representative is discharged from service.
Our Florida trust and estate lawyers can help you navigate the probate process, whether you are the personal representative tasked with administering a will or an heir entitled to some or all of the estate. We can also help people plan how their estates will be administered when they pass away, including exploring alternatives like trusts.
Administering a Trust After a Loved One’s Death in Florida
Trusts are an effective alternative to a will, which can also be used with a will to plan how a person’s property will be distributed when they pass away. The benefit of a trust is that it skips the probate process altogether, saving them time, cost, and uncertainty that can come with that process.
The trust must be administered under state law. That job largely falls to the trustee, the person empowered to control the trust. Anyone who creates a trust can name his or herself as the trustee and specifically identify a successor in the event of the person’s death or incapacitation. The person creating the trust also usually names beneficiaries who get the property or other assets included in the trust.
The trustee is legally obligated to act in the interests of the beneficiaries and exercise reasonable care and prudence. That includes ensuring that the trust property is kept separate from the trustee’s assets. The trustee is also required to keep certain records and regularly provide information to beneficiaries.
At Purcell, Flanagan, Hay & Greene, our Florida trust and estate lawyers help trustees ensure that they meet their legal obligations and carry out the wishes of the person who created the trust. We also assist beneficiaries in a wide range of related issues.