Fort Myers Probate Attorney

Probate can be a complex maze after a loved one’s passing. We are here to guide you with clarity and precision through every step.

What is Probate?

Probate is the legal process that happens after someone dies. It’s the court-supervised procedure that’s activated to handle a deceased individual’s estate — both assets and liabilities.

The court first authenticates the validity of a will, if there’s one in place. Without a will, Florida law takes the wheel, guiding the distribution of assets.

Every claim, every debt, every unpaid sum is laid out and addressed before assets find their way to the rightful heirs or beneficiaries. It ensures that creditors get their due and properties transfer cleanly and correctly.

Probate is usually needed even if there is a will. It’s also time-consuming and can be expensive, depending on the size and complexity of the estate.

Ready to get started? Complete our Probate Questionnaire here.

The Florida Probate Process in 4 Steps

This is a simple version of what the probate process looks like. In reality, it can be much more complex depending on the estate.

Here is the simplified version of probate in the state of Florida:

1. Court Approval

Submit a petition to the probate court. This is your way of getting the court's nod on the will's authenticity and the appointment of the estate handler.

2. Alert Family and Creditors

Then, you'll inform both relatives and any outstanding creditors. This step is the formal declaration that the estate is undergoing probate.

3. Settle Debts and Taxes

The executor's next duty is straightforward: use the estate's funds to clear debts and settle any taxes.

4. Distribute the Assets

Now it's time to allocate assets to those named in the will. No will? Florida law takes charge of the distribution.

Probate isn’t always straightforward; these four steps are just an overview.

Delays and bureaucracy can hinder families from covering funeral costs. Disputes or creditor issues often arise.

You don’t have to tackle this by yourself. We are ready to help you navigate and ensure you get what’s rightfully yours.

To get started, please fill out our Probate Questionnaire. Have questions? Give us a call at (239) 225-7911.

Probate is Exhausting.

We help keep probate as painless and easy as possible. With proper estate planning, you can even avoid probate completely.

But if it’s too late for planning and you are facing probate, we can help you through this difficult time.

Our job is to help you save time, conflict, and frustration. You should be allowed to grieve the loss of your loved one. Let us do the heavy lifting and guide you through the probate process, making it as simple and straightforward as possible. 

Ready to learn more? Contact us at (239) 225-7911 or complete our Probate Questionnaire to get started today.

How Do I Avoid Probate in Florida?

Probate isn’t enjoyable, especially if you are grieving a loved one.

If you wish to avoid probate in the state of Florida, here are three ways to do so:

Opt for Payable-on-Death accounts

Assign payable-on-death or transfer-on-death to bank and investment accounts, even vehicles.

It ensures direct inheritance without the probate process.

Go with a Trust-Based Plan

Wills still need to go through probate, but you can get around that with a trust-based plan.

Upon your passing, the assets in your trust are distributed according to the terms of the trust.

Use Beneficiary Designations

Review and update beneficiary designations on retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and annuities.

By naming beneficiaries, you can ensure that these assets pass directly to them outside of probate.

Don't navigate probate alone.

Even when things go smoothly, the probate process can be daunting. However, you can trust that you will be in caring, knowledgeable hands with our team.

Contact Barbara M. Pizzolato, P.A. today and take control of your estate’s future. Ensure peace of mind for you and your loved ones.

Trust in our expertise to guide you every step of the way.

Call us at (239) 225-7911 or complete our Probate Questionnaire to get started today.

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