Closing an Estate
Our Probate Attorneys Assist Personal Representatives Throughout the State
The personal representative is tasked with a list of duties to close the estate. The time and expertise required depend on the complexity and value of a given estate. One of the personal representative’s duties is recognizing when consulting with professionals, such as attorneys, accountants, real estate brokers, securities brokers or certain specialists, is appropriate.
Walser & Herman Law Firm was established more than three decades ago to assist families through the estate planning and probate processes. Our firm guides you through the important duties assigned to you to successfully close your loved one’s estate. We have adopted the essential technology that permits us to help you in any jurisdiction in Florida and other states. Our onsite C.P.A.s help you to preserve your loved one’s assets and handle accounting and taxation matters accurately and appropriately. We also accept referrals from out-of-state attorneys whose clients own property in Florida.
Starting the Probate Process
Our firm takes you step-by-step through the probate process. The length of time from start to finish depends on the matters involved in the particular estate. For example, if the estate contains real property you may need to wait for its sale to distribute its proceeds to the bank and heirs. Or, the estate may include rare cars, art, jewelry or collectibles that need to be properly appraised and sold within a niche market.
Most estates are completed well within the 12-month deadline Florida imposes for closing probate. However, the court grants extensions when necessary. A typical estate takes about six months to close, but at least three months — the period creditors are given to submit their claims.
After submitting the will to the court, the judge issues a letter of administration that helps you perform your administrative duties, such as:
- Transferring assets from the decedent’s personal bank account to the estate’s bank account
- Cancelling subscriptions and accounts
- Stopping payments for Social Security, veteran’s disability and other benefits
- Hiring experts and professionals, as necessary, to assist with your administrative duties
Creditors of the estate are paid before money is distributed to heirs. You must publish a notice to creditors in a local newspaper and notify known or reasonably ascertainable creditors. You have a duty to object to improper claims and to defend the estate against these claims. You also have the duty to pay valid claims from the estate. In addition, you are responsible for filing your loved one’s income tax return and paying appropriate estate taxes to the IRS.
Our tax professionals help you ascertain the validity of the creditors’ claims and preserve the value of the estate for the beneficiaries.
Handling Estate Assets
As part of your job, you are responsible for collecting and distributing the assets of the estate. The process involves:
- Performing due diligence to identify assets
- Conducting accurate valuations, using accepted methods and consulting with experts when appropriate
- Maintaining property by paying insurance premiums, making loan payments and keeping up with repairs
- Selling property and distributing proceeds in accordance with the will
Distributing Assets to the Beneficiaries
Ultimately, you must act in the best interests of the beneficiaries while preserving the wishes of the decedent in all of your personal representative duties. Distributing assets to the beneficiaries is one of the final phases of closing an estate. Our South Florida probate attorneys help you to do so fairly and according to the laws and your loved one’s will.
Get Assistance Closing an Estate from a South Florida Probate Attorney
Walser & Herman Law Firm can assist you with your executor and personal representative duties. Call our team at 561.750.1040 or email our firm to schedule a consultation to discuss the Florida probate process.