Probate is the process for identifying and gathering the assets of a deceased person (decedent), paying the decedent’s debts and distributing the decedent’s assets to his or her beneficiaries. A probate is opened where the decedent resided. Our firm regularly handles probate matters in Gainesville, Ocala, Orlando and all areas in Alachua, Marion and the surrounding counties. However, we can generally handle probate matters anywhere within the state.
Probates are handled done under the supervision of the court. Generally, assets are first used to pay the costs of the probate proceeding and then to pay any outstanding debts a decedent may have at the time of their death. The balance is distributed to the decedent's beneficiaries either according to the terms of their will or if there is no will, according to the laws of intestate succession. Probate is required to legally pass ownership of the decedent’s assets to that person's beneficiaries free of the claims of any potential creditors.
At Ossi, Withers & Harrison, we understand this may be a difficult time for you and your family and we are here to guide you through this process as efficiently and compassionately as possible. We work directly with the personal representative and provide guidance to assist with each step of the probate process including:
- Identify, gather, value, and safeguard the decedent’s probate assets.
- Conduct a diligent search to locate potential credits of the estate and publish a "Notice to Creditors" in a local newspaper in order to give notice to potential creditors and to shorten the time to file claims in the estate.
- Serve a "Notice of Administration" to all those who may have an interest in the estate.
- To work with creditors to pay or settle valid claims, to object to improper claims and defend suits brought on such claims.
- To coordinate with other professionals including certified public accountants, appraisers and investment advisors to assist in the administration of the probate estate, valuing of assets and filing of final tax returns.
- Distribute probate assets to beneficiaries
- Assist with resolving any disputes that may arise
While most probates are administered without incident, sometimes disputes arise. Perhaps a disagreement between beneficiaries as to the distribution of the assets or concern as to the validity of will. If a probate becomes contested, we have attorneys available who can assist.
We are happy to schedule a free 30 minute consultation to discuss your probate matters. Contact our office at 352.692.4888 to schedule a time to speak to one of our attorneys.