40 Years' Legal Experience in Orlando, Florida
Probate Administration and Estate Litigation in Orlando
Probate is when the courts determine what happens to the estate of someone who is deceased, often because he or she left no will or trust, or because the estate is involved in some sort of litigation or dispute.
If you are seeking a probate administration attorney because a relative has died and his or her estate is being distributed by a Florida probate court, the law firm of Pierce & Associates, P.L. in Orlando can help you. If you want to challenge a will, or if a lawsuit is posthumously brought against a relative, we can also help you.
Our AV-rated* law firm is run by attorney John G. Pierce, a Florida native with more than 40 years' legal experience in Florida probate courts. As estate planning and real estate experts, we understand probate and all of the related legal issues that frequently arise during probate proceedings. Schedule a consultation to learn about how we can best represent you. We handle probate administration, and we represent parties in all types of probate litigation.
What is Probate Administration?
In many cases, the estate of a deceased relative passes through probate court before assets are distributed among the heirs. For example, probate is required under the following circumstances:
Real estate - Real estate and real property don’t automatically pass to the deceased’s spouse. The only way to transfer a property title is through probate court, where the probate judge will select the proper heir to receive the real estate, either in accordance with any instructions in the will or as required by Florida probate law.
- Financial assets - If checking accounts, bank accounts and investment accounts are titled solely in the decedent's name with no "pay on death" designation, the bank or brokerage will not transfer ownership of the account to any other person without an order from the probate court — again, in accordance with any instructions in the will.
A lawsuit involving the deceased individual - If the person was killed in a car accident, for example, and the surviving relatives wish to file a wrongful death action, that action must be filed by the estate of the deceased person. This cannot be done without a court order.
Approval of the personal representative - If the will names a personal representative to oversee the transfer of assets, he or she must be approved as a fit and proper person by the probate court.
- A relative dies without a will - If no will exists, the estate will be distributed under the oversight of the probate court according to the distribution rules of Florida's intestacy laws.
Probate Litigation Lawyer in Orlando, Florida - Probate litigation arises because of all kinds of circumstances.
An heir may wish to challenge the validity of the deceased’s will by claiming fraud or undue influence exerted on the will maker from one of the beneficiaries.
A person not named in the estate administration documents can challenge the will by claiming status as a proper beneficiary.
A family member can challenge the designation of another relative as the personal representative of the estate.
Finally, probate litigation may be necessary to determine whether or not real estate owned by the decedent was homesteaded, which in Florida helps determine who has what kind of legal ownership of the property.
For Personal Attention and Outstanding Service, Contact Pierce & Associates, P.L.
To work with a veteran Florida probate lawyer who personally handles each client's case, contact Pierce & Associates to make an appointment. Call 407-982-7228 or fill out our online intake form.