St. Augustine Probate Attorney

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St. Augustine Probate Lawyer

There’s no denying that probate can be a challenging process for a family to go through. It’s often full of complications and confusion. Unfortunately, it’s also not uncommon for these situations to turn contentious. No one wants their family to struggle after their death, and one of the most effective ways to avoid much of the hassle and difficulty of probate is by working with a St. Augustine probate attorney.

At the Law Office of Douglas A. Oberdorfer, P.A., we’re equipped with decades of experience in estate planning and administration. We help our clients both prepare for probate and work through the process, and we’re prepared to help you and your family.

St. Augustine Probate Attorney

What Does a St. Augustine Probate Attorney & Law Firm Do?

A probate lawyer in St. Augustine, FL can take on a number of different roles and assist with many of the elements of probate. For many people, this process begins well before probate takes place. The process of probate can often be very difficult and has the possibility of turning contentious. The less prepared an estate is for the probate process, the more likely that this will be the case.

Therefore, working with a probate lawyer prior to your death can make the process easier for your family when the time for probate arrives.

Preparing for Probate

The process of preparing for probate is a part of estate planning in general. In many cases, preparing your estate for probate can involve something like putting together a will. This document can serve as a guide through the probate process and make clear how you would like assets managed and divided. It should name an executor who will see the process through and also name beneficiaries to receive the assets.

The will is critical to the probate process because, without at least a will, your assets will have to pass through intestate rules and guidelines, which means you won’t have any say in what happens with your assets.

For others, preparation for probate can mean considering options for avoiding the process if at all possible. Probate has the disadvantages of being costly and exposed to certain financial impacts. It’s also public, which means that the assets within your estate and how they are distributed become a matter of public record.

These and other issues often lead to people wanting to avoid probate. This is typically achieved through the use of one or several forms of trusts. If a trust is prepared properly, the assets within it will be shielded from the probate process.

Can a Lawyer Help With Probate Administration?

A probate lawyer can also assist a family through the probate process. While probate will follow a predetermined structure, complications can often arise. A probate lawyer can serve as a guide for the family and ensure that the proper procedures and processes are followed.

They also may be able to help smooth out some of the potential conflicts that could be involved. They can also ensure that things like the proper paperwork, petitions to the court, accounting statements, and other legal requirements are all followed.

A vital component of probate court can be the matter of addressing the debts and creditors, and a probate attorney can help identify and guide the proper payment procedures. A probate attorney can also ensure that assets are properly distributed according to the deceased’s will. If there is any sort of conflict in the process of the execution of the will, a probate lawyer can also serve as the legal representation in probate court and through litigation if necessary.

St. Augustine Probate FAQs

Is There a Way to Avoid Probate?

A: In most cases, the most effective means of avoiding probate will be through the use of a trust. These are estate planning tools that allow you to place assets within them. These assets are then “owned” by the trust and managed according to the rules and instructions of the trust. Trusts are not subject to the probate process, which means that the assets within will not be subject to the expenses, conflict, and public exposure that come along with probate.

What Are the Downsides of Going Through Probate?

A: Taking an estate through probate can generally have a number of downsides. One of these is that the process is often a complex one. That complexity can often create confusion, which can turn to contention. Depending on how an estate is prepared, there is also the risk of greater financial exposure through the probate process. Lastly, probate is a matter of public record, which means that the assets and distribution of the estate will be publicly available.

Do You Need a Lawyer to Go Through Probate?

A: It is possible to attempt to go through the probate process with a lawyer. However, many who begin the process that way don’t finish without a lawyer’s involvement. It can be tremendously helpful to have someone experienced and knowledgeable as a resource when challenges inevitably emerge.

How Long After Death Does the Probate Process Start in Florida?

A: One of the things that can make the probate process so challenging is that it often begins while families are still emotionally vulnerable and processing the death of their loved one. That’s because the will must be filed with the probate court within a few weeks after the death. The actual probate process will commence shortly after that point.

Get the Probate Help You Need From a St. Augustine Probate Attorney

At the Law Office of Douglas A. Oberdorfer, P.A., we understand not only the legal complexities of the probate process but also the emotional pressures and challenges a family faces at these times. We help our clients with all aspects of the probate process.

If you need help preparing for when you’re gone and want to make the process easier for your family, we can help you. If your loved one’s estate is about to go through probate or is currently in the process, we can help you as well. Contact us today for your probate and estate planning concerns.

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