Probate Lawyer in Largo, FL
Estates, Assets and Accounting

Comprehensive Probate Assistance

Mark Schleben offers a wide range of probate services to address your specific needs and circumstances.  Whether you are an executor seeking guidance or a beneficiary navigating the probate process, we’re here to provide you with comprehensive assistance.  Below are some of the probate services that we provide.

Probate Administration

We will assist you throughout the entire probate process, handling all necessary legal requirements and paperwork.  From preparing and filing the initial petition to closing the estate, we will ensure that all necessary steps are taken efficiently and in compliance with applicable laws. 

Asset Identification and Inventory

We will help you identify and inventory the assets of the deceased, including real estate, bank accounts, investments, personal property, and more.  Mark will carefully gather the necessary information to ensure a complete and accurate representation of the estate.

Debt and Creditor Management

We will work with you to address outstanding debts and manage creditor claims.  Attorney Mark Schleben will carefully review each claim, verify its validity, and negotiate with creditors to reach fair resolutions while protecting the interests of the estate and beneficiaries.

Estate Accounting and Reporting

Mark Schleben will handle all financial aspects of the probate process, including maintaining accurate records, preparing detailed accountings, and filing required reports with the probate court.  We will ensure that the estate’s financial affairs are transparent and in compliance with legal obligations.

Estate Distribution

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Our office will oversee the proper distribution of assets to the designated beneficiaries, ensuring that it aligns with the wishes of the deceased or the laws of intestate succession.  We will handle the transfer of titles, accounts, and other assets, making the process as smooth and seamless as possible.

Contact a Probate Lawyer Near You

If you are in need of probate services, we are here to assist you. Schedule a consultation with our knowledgeable probate lawyer to discuss your specific situation and receive tailored advice. Let us navigate the complexities of the probate process on your behalf, allowing you to focus on what matters most – your family and healing. Contact Mark Schleben today and let us provide you with the dedicated representation you deserve.

Frequently Asked Questions

At The Law Office of Mark Schleben, we’re happy to answer all of your questions.  Here are a few of our most frequently asked questions we’ve received about the probate process.  If you have any other concerns or questions, contact us and let us know!

Probate is typically necessary when a person passes away and leaves behind assets that need to be transferred to beneficiaries or heirs.  Here are some common situations where probate may be required:

  • Absence of a valid will: If the deceased person did not create a valid will, their assets will be distributed according to the laws of intestacy.  Probate is necessary to determine the legal heirs and distribute the assets accordingly.
  • Assets solely in the deceased person’s name: When the deceased owned assets solely in their name, such as real estate, bank accounts, or investments, probate is usually required to transfer the ownership to the rightful beneficiaries.
  • Complex estates: If the estate is complex, involving various types of assets, significant debts, or disputes among potential beneficiaries, probate provides a structured legal process to resolve these matters.
  • Validity concerns: In cases where the authenticity or validity of the will is in question, probate helps ensure a thorough examination of the document and resolves any disputes regarding its legitimacy.

It’s important to note that the probate requirements and processes can vary based on jurisdiction.  Consulting with a probate lawyer is crucial to determine if probate is necessary in your specific situation and to navigate the process effectively.

During the probate process, several challenges and disputes can arise, leading to potential conflicts among beneficiaries, creditors, or other interested parties.  Some common issues include:

  • Will contests: One of the most significant challenges is when someone contests the validity of the will.  This can occur if there are concerns about the deceased person’s mental capacity at the time of creating the will, allegations of undue influence, fraud, or improper execution.
  • Disputes among beneficiaries: Conflicts may arise between beneficiaries regarding the distribution of assets, interpretation of the will’s provisions, or concerns about the executor’s actions.  This can lead to lengthy legal battles and delays in the probate process.
  • Creditor claims: Creditors have the right to make claims against the estate for outstanding debts owed by the deceased.  Resolving these claims can be complex, especially when there are limited assets available to satisfy all debts.
  • Complex asset valuation: Some estates may have unique or hard-to-value assets, such as business interests, real estate holdings, or intellectual property.  Determining the accurate value of these assets can lead to disagreements among beneficiaries and potential disputes.
  • Family disputes: In cases where there are strained family relationships or disagreements, probate can intensify existing conflicts.  Disputes may arise over personal belongings, family heirlooms, or differing interpretations of the deceased person’s intentions.

It’s important to work with an experienced probate lawyer who can navigate these challenges, mediate disputes, and ensure a fair and efficient resolution.  Their expertise can help minimize conflicts, protect the interests of beneficiaries, and ensure the probate process proceeds as smoothly as possible.

During the probate process, the distribution of assets is typically determined according to the provisions outlined in the deceased person’s will or, in the absence of a will, by the laws of intestacy.  Here’s a general overview of how asset distribution is determined:

  • Will-based distribution: If the deceased person left a valid will, it typically specifies how their assets should be distributed among the beneficiaries.  The will should clearly outline who receives what property or assets and in what proportions.  The executor is responsible for ensuring that the assets are distributed according to the instructions in the will.
  • Laws of intestacy: When there is no valid will or the will does not cover all assets, the laws of intestacy come into play.  These laws vary depending on the jurisdiction but generally determine the distribution of assets based on the deceased person’s familial relationships.  Typically, the spouse, children, parents, or other close relatives may be entitled to a share of the estate, and the distribution is determined by the intestacy laws of the particular jurisdiction.
  • Debts and expenses: Before the assets are distributed to beneficiaries, any outstanding debts, taxes, or administrative expenses must be settled.  These obligations are typically paid using the assets of the estate before distribution.

It’s important to note that the probate process can involve court supervision, especially when there are disputes or complexities.  The executor or personal representative has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the estate and the beneficiaries during asset distribution.

A probate lawyer plays a vital role in assisting individuals or families with various legal matters related to the probate process.  Their primary responsibilities include:

  • Providing legal advice: A probate lawyer offers guidance and expert advice to clients throughout the probate process.  They explain the legal requirements, rights, and obligations of the executor or administrator, beneficiaries, and other parties involved.
  • Probate administration: The lawyer helps the executor or administrator navigate the probate process efficiently . They assist in preparing and filing necessary documents with the probate court, such as petitions, inventories, and accountings.
  • Asset valuation: Determining the value of the deceased person’s assets is a crucial aspect of the probate process.  A probate lawyer can help assess and appraise the assets accurately, ensuring they are accounted for correctly during distribution.
  • Resolving disputes: Disputes may arise during probate, such as will contests, beneficiary conflicts, or creditor claims.  A probate lawyer represents the interests of their clients and works to resolve these disputes through negotiation, mediation, or, if necessary, litigation.
  • Estate tax matters: If applicable, a probate lawyer assists with estate tax matters.  They help determine the tax liability, prepare and file estate tax returns, and advise on strategies to minimize estate tax obligations.
  • Asset distribution: A probate lawyer ensures that the distribution of assets follows the deceased person’s wishes as expressed in the will or according to the laws of intestacy.  They help draft the necessary legal documents and oversee the proper transfer of assets to the beneficiaries.
  • Executor support: Executors or administrators may have extensive responsibilities during probate.  A probate lawyer provides guidance and support to ensure that the executor fulfills their duties in compliance with the law and protects the interests of the estate and beneficiaries.
  • Estate planning: In addition to probate matters, probate lawyers often assist individuals in planning their estates to minimize probate-related issues.  They help create wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and other legal documents to ensure a smooth transition of assets upon the person’s passing.

By leveraging their knowledge of probate laws and procedures, a probate lawyer offers invaluable assistance and representation to clients, helping them navigate the complexities of the probate process with confidence and ease.

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