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Judge's Table


We understand that navigating the probate process can be overwhelming, but we are committed to guiding you through it.

When a loved one dies, you may not know where to look for help. The process of probate and/or trust administration is a complex and multifaceted task that involves the management and distribution of the assets and liabilities of a deceased individual. It encompasses a variety of responsibilities, such as identifying and assessing the value of assets, paying off any outstanding debts and taxes, and ultimately distributing property to beneficiaries. The primary objective of probate and trust administration is to ensure that the final wishes of the deceased are executed in an equitable and timely manner.

The Florida Probate Code is found in Chapters 731 through 735 of the Florida Statutes, but reading these chapters of law and trying to determine your next step can be more than overwhelming. This is especially true if you are trying to find the next step while simultaneously grieving the loss of your loved one. 

A good deal of the probate code in Florida deals with the responsibilities of the Personal Representative, and the same can apply to a Trustee. The Personal Representative and/or a Trustee is the person(s) that you designate to handle your estate after you die. Many times, this person is a spouse, child, or sibling, but at times it may also be a close friend or other relative such as a cousin, aunt, or uncle. Being a Personal Representative and/or a Trustee is a huge responsibility. A Personal Representative and/or Trustee is usually named in a will or a trust agreement, but that is not always the case. If a person dies without a will or estate plan, the person is said to have died “intestate.” In these cases, the Personal Representative may be appointed by the Court. Florida law provides a methodical way these estates must be handled. This can include looking for lost relatives and hunting for lost property. 

At a minimum, a Personal Representative and/or a Trustee’s duties include:

  • Ensuring the proper notices are filed in the public record

  • Paying the debts of the estate

  • Taking an inventory of property and assets

  • Keeping property safe until it is time for distribution

  • Filing the taxes of the deceased person

  • Making sure all paperwork is properly and timely filed with the court.

  • Keeping heirs informed of the progress of estate matters and 

  • Distributing property to the proper beneficiary or beneficiaries

Handling an estate as a Personal Representative or a Trustee is not a task to be taken lightly. It involves following numerous rules and regulations. Failure to manage an estate correctly can result in a lawsuit, and in some cases, the person may have to pay damages. 

When you contact the Stickley Law Office for assistance with your probate/trust matter, you will get an experienced and knowledgeable attorney that works with your best interest at heart. We will make the administration of your loved one’s estate more manageable. Most of all, we will be there to support you. Let our office help you in this difficult time. Contact us at 941-474-5506 for a consultation today.

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