Benefits of a Naples Probate Lawyer
If you have been named the personal representative (also known as the executor) of a loved one’s estate, you are probably wondering whether you need to hire a lawyer. Hiring a probate attorney to help you during this difficult time could be the best thing. As the personal representative, you are responsible to carry out the financial and legal duties that are required to officially close the deceased’s estate and this process is known as probate.
Probate has two forms: Formal Administration and Summary Administration. In a Formal Administration, the personal representative is officially appointed by the judge but if the decedent’s Last Will and Testament names their personal representative the judge usually selects that person as well.
Generally speaking, you would want to hire an attorney to assist you with a Formal Administration when the estate exceeds $75,000. Most estates far exceed this $75,000 minimum and the personal representative needs help to do the tasks needed such as dealing with creditors and paying taxes. In Florida, probate attorneys generally get paid a fee of around 3% of the probate inventory.
What Does a Naples Probate Lawyer Do?
A probate attorney works with the personal representative of an estate to settle the affairs of the decedent. A knowledgeable probate lawyer will answer all your questions and guide you through the probate process, including:
• Identifying all estate assets
• Preparing and filing documents with the probate court.
• Serving notices to creditors, heirs, and local newspapers.
• Resolving federal and state tax issues.
• Assisting in the payment of outstanding debts and final bills.
• Collecting life insurance policy proceeds.
• Ordering appraisals for real property.
• Managing the estate checking account.
• Transferring real estate and other assets to beneficiaries.
Benefits of Having James Nici Help with Probate in Naples
Probate attorneys are not legally required, but their support is indispensable. As a Naples Probate lawyer, James Nici is a specialist. He knows the Florida probate court rules and procedures thoroughly. He is familiar with the local Naples judges and probate court employees and clerks. He will be able to recognize potential issues ahead of time, so they don’t become problems.
As your probate lawyer, he will know the steps to take and ensure that your case is handled properly at every step so the estate is administered and closed out as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Below are four benefits of hiring a Naples probate lawyer.
1. Prevent Personal Liability for the Personal Representative. In Florida, a personal representative can be held personally liable to estate beneficiaries if they make mistakes that adversely impact the estate, even if the mistake was unintentional. If you are administering an estate without professional help, it is easy to make an error when gathering assets, generating reports, giving notice, paying creditors, distributing assets, and taking other required steps.
A qualified probate attorney like James Nici is highly unlikely to make a mistake. They know how to complete the tasks and navigate the system. If your attorney does make a mistake, they will assume the liability instead of you.
2. Save Time. Probate is not a quick process. It involves a lot of details and can take months to years to complete. The process will be further delayed if forms are not completed correctly or if filing deadlines are missed. Probate proceedings are filed with the clerk of the circuit court, usually in the county in which the decedent lived at the time of his or her death.
3. Reduce Conflict. Having a probate lawyer involved in the administration of the estate significantly reduces the potential for disputes. Settling an estate often leads to differing opinions between family members, greed, and impatience. A probate attorney will ensure that everything is handled objectively and legally. They can take the heat off you as the personal representative and explain to disgruntled relatives what can be done legally and what can not be done at all.
Litigation is expensive and time-consuming. If the estate is challenged, the cost of litigation can eat away at the estate and take years to resolve. If there is a dispute, your probate lawyer often can resolve it early on and avoid legal action such as a trial or hearing.
4. Minimize Stress. Losing a loved one is incredibly hard, especially if you have the added pressure of planning a funeral, caring for others such as a spouse or dependent left behind, and worrying about expenses. If you are the personal representative, administering an estate through probate during this time of grief can be overwhelming. Your probate lawyer can help relieve some of this burden.
Having an attorney handling the probate process allows you to step back from the time-consuming probate process and focus on your family when they need you the most.
Top Reasons to Hire a Probate Lawyer
Hiring a Naples probate lawyer is especially helpful if:
• The will is unclear, or its validity is in question.
• There is a conflict between family members.
• The estate is large monetarily.
• The estate includes a business or another complex asset.
• The estate owes back taxes.
• The estate doesn’t have the capacity to handle its debts.
Call Naples Probate Lawyer James Nici
James R. Nici is an experienced Naples probate attorney with over 25 years of experience and Board-Certified by the Florida Bar as a Specialist in Wills, Trusts, and Estates. He can provide you with the benefits of a probate lawyer based on his knowledge and experience. He can help you prepare and file required documents, assist with resolving tax issues, and other tasks of the probate process. Call 239-449-6150 or contact us online to set up a complimentary consultation with Naples probate attorney James R. Nici.