Experienced Representation - Dedicated Service

Main Office Locations:

USA: 3520 NW 43rd Street  ·  Gainesville, FL  32606  ·  (904) 425-8078
Europe: Tandbergvegen 88 ·  1929 Auli, Norway  ·  + 47 40 10 18 24
Coming Soon: Milwaukee, Wisconsin Office

        

Frequent Probate Law Questions

Following are some frequently asked questions about probate law and actions (click on a question to view the answer):

What is a "probate" action?

What is the difference between an heir and a beneficiary?

Do I need an attorney to help me with my probate problem?

How long does the probate process take?

What types of probate proceedings can you handle?

What type of property is subject to probate?

What is a "probate" action?

A probate action is nothing more than a legal proceeding by which the personal and real property of an individual who has died (the "decedent") is disposed of between creditors, heirs and/or beneficiaries. If a person has left real and/or personal property in several different states, probate proceedings may be necessary in each of those states to properly transfer interests in that property. However, those probate proceedings may differ depending upon the type and value of the property at issue. In many cases, all that may be necessary might be a summary administration proceeding or admission of the foreign (out of state) will to the record of a court in the applicable state.

[Back to Top]

What is the difference between an heir and a beneficiary?

An heir is a person who receives property from a decedent who has died intestate (without a will). In many cases, heirs receiving property from an intestate individual will ignore requisite probate proceedings, in an effort to save money and effort. However, much later, they may discover that any real property they took for themselves informally, is not transferrable due to title problems caused by the lack of probate. Fortunately, we can help such individuals clear these title issues, usually by initiating the proper probate proceeding.
Conversely, a beneficiary is someone who receives real or personal property through a decedent's will.

[Back to Top]

Do I need an attorney to help me with my probate problem?

For most probate proceedings in Florida and Wisconsin, attorney representation is mandated by statute and court rules. In the very few cases where attorney representation is optional, it is our belief that an attorney is still desirable, as it can help reduce common mistakes made in even the simplest of probate proceedings, which mistakes can be costly to correct, and which can add needless delay to the probate process.

[Back to Top]

How long does the probate process take?

The length of the probate process can vary depending upon the type of proceeding involved. In some instances, a summary or family administration with no creditors can usually be completed in a matter of a few weeks. A formal administration with multiple creditors and numerous assets can take several months, or in some cases more than a year, to process, depending upon the complexity of the estate.

[Back to Top]

What types of probate proceedings can you handle?

We are able and willing to address all of your potential probate needs. Typical probate proceedings, depending upon the size and nature of the estate, include formal administration for larger valued estates, summary administration proceedings for certain smaller valued estates, and family administration for the smallest estates involving only personal property (or in very limited cases, personal plus real property). We also willingly assist out-of-state clients and probate counsel with probate proceedings which involve ancilliary administration and admission of a foreign will to record.

[Back to Top]

What type of property is subject to probate?

Most assets of a deceased individual are subject to the probate process. However, there are exceptions. For example, property that is in the name of a trust will be excluded from probate. Jointly owned assets may be excluded from probate, assuming appropriate records, such as death certificates, are filed with appropriate agencies and entities. Life insurance proceeds are usually also excluded from probate. Consulting a probate attorney can help you identify any assets which may be excluded from the probate process.

[Back to Top]



©2006. 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 Richard Ruth    


.
The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements.  Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience.  This site is established to provide accurate and reliable information about  the law practice of Attorney Richard L. Ruth, Esquire, whose main offices are located at 3520 NW 43rd Street in Gainesville, Florida, telephone (904) 425-8078.  No information provided here is to be considered legal advice, nor does use of this site create an attorney-client relationship.