The Orlando Law Group


No one likes to deal with the death of a loved one.

You need time to grieve and mourn. You need time to think about your future. You need time to recover and learn to live again.

But you will need to work through all the steps to close your loved one’s estate – and that includes going through the probate process.

There are horror stories about the probate process and it can be difficult. But, with the right steps in estate planning and with an attorney at The Orlando Law Group at your side throughout the process, it can be simple.

According to the Florida Bar, Probate is a court-supervised 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.

Nearly anyone with any assets must go through probate. There are some options available to avoid the full probate process, but you should assume that some form of probate will be required unless you have planned carefully.

And there is no quick probate. Florida law requires probate cases to remain open for a minimum of three months to allow time for creditors of the deceased to file a claim. If the IRS is involved, it can be a year or more and it generally is at least a year.

As is so often true in legal matters, every probate case is different. That is why it is key to work with an attorney at The Orlando Law Group before the death of a loved one, especially if you have not established a will or an estate plan.

What probate covers

There is no complete list for what must go through probate because every case is a bit different, but the Florida Court System provides the following summary, giving a good example of what is covered in probate:

  • A bank account or investment account in the sole name of a decedent.
  • An annuity contract, or individual retirement account payable to the decedent’s estate.
  • Real estate titled in the sole name of the decedent, or in the name of the decedent and another person as tenants in common, is a probate asset (unless it is homestead property).
  • Any business interests owned by the decedent.

As we said earlier, this is not an all-inclusive list, but if any of these three apply, regardless of the dollar value of them, you should reach out to The Orlando Law Group immediately.

The difference between a formal and summary administration

In most cases, formal administration of your estate will be required. That should be the baseline of what to expect and includes all the steps of probate to be overseen by the court system, the personal representative and the attorneys.

In some cases, primarily if you have less than $75,000 in assets, you can qualify for summary administration of the estate, which is significantly quicker. However, you are still liable for claims up to two years after the case is closed.

Finally, there is disposition without administration. This can only be used if your assets are exempt from probate or the value of the assets does not cover the cost of a funeral and medical bills.

Why an attorney is necessary

Probate is not as simple as just filing paperwork or submitting your will to the court system. In most cases, it is much more complicated.

Just take a look at the rules established by the Florida Court system found here. It is 435 pages long.

The attorneys at The Orlando Law Group have spent their careers studying those rules and the statutes governing probate in Florida.

As these are your loved one’s assets, it is best to make sure you have an attorney to work to help you keep as many of the assets as possible.

Plus, our attorneys understand this is probably the most painful time in your life. Our team focuses not just on the law, but helping you through this process, explaining what is happening and being there for you when you need us most.

Tips to simplify probate

As we said earlier, there is no way to avoid probate in most cases, but there are steps you can take to help make probate as simple as possible.

Of course, the most important thing you can do is write your will. A good will provides direction to the courts on a wide range of matters. If you want to learn about wills, please see some of the articles here. One to pay close attention to is this one about what happens if you die without a will.

A key aspect of the will is appointing your personal representative – often called an executor. This person, required by law, will oversee the distribution of assets and a wide range of other tasks. By having this designated in the will, the courts will not have to appoint a representative, which could be someone you do not even know.

Another step to simplify the probate process is the establishment of a trust, which is a legal entity to manage your assets. There are several types of trusts and you can read more in some of the articles we have published.

For both wills and trusts, the attorneys at The Orlando Law Group are perfect for your needs. They have spent their careers working with individuals and businesses on estate planning, with a significant focus on wills and trusts.

If you live in Orlando, Sanford, Lake Nona, Winter Garden, Altamonte Springs, Windermere or anywhere in Central Florida, please reach out to us today about estate planning to minimize probate.

Frequently asked questions about probate

I do not have a lot of assets, so I do not need a will, right?

Even a savings account could be considered an asset and there may be assets that you think might not be applicable but are. It is best to reach out to The Orlando Law Group to review what you might need.

How quickly do I need to file for probate after death?

This one is simple. Ten days if there is a will as the will must be filed quickly. That short time frame is why The Orlando Law Group emphasizes our clients work with us to be prepared before the filing is needed.

Are my back taxes going to be part of probate?

Unfortunately, Uncle Sam still wants his money after death too, but the IRS can be just one of several creditors that are owed money from the estate of a deceased individual. Working with The Orlando Law Group prior to death can help your loved ones to keep as much of the assets as they can. We will also help the personal representative file the proper forms with the IRS and with the courts.

How much will this cost me?

The costs on probate can be significant and utilize a good portion of your estate. That is why we emphasize meeting with an attorney from The Orlando Law Group to minimize those costs with a will or trust before death.

When do I receive the assets going through probate?

This really depends on your case, but you should plan on a minimum of a few months before accessing any assets included in the probate process.

If you would like to schedule a consultation for probate or any estate planning issue, please reach out to our office at 407-512-4394, fill out our online contact form or save this information in case you ever find yourself or a loved one needing to use it.

Meet Your OLG Attorneys

Jennifer A. Englert

Jennifer A. Englert
Attorney & Managing Partner
(407) 512-4394

Adam C. Herman

Adam C. Herman
Director of Litigation
Chief Operating Officer
(407) 512-4394

Jeffrey W. Smith

Sophia Dean

Erika De Jesus

Wendy Hernandez O’Donnell

Wendy Hernandez O’Donnell
(407) 512-4394

Jaya Balani

Jarrod Etheridge

Marsha Summersill

Courtney Crossland

© 2021 The Orlando Law Group.