Your Tallahassee Law Firm for the Drafting and Probate of Wills
A will is always preferable to having the State decide which members of your family receive which of your assets upon your death, and it is absolutely necessary if you intend to leave property to a person or entity other than a family member, such as a domestic partner, a friend or a charity. If you die without a will, the court determines how your property is distributed, who cares for your minor children and even what happens to your pets – making decisions that might not reflect your desires.
Ervin, Kitchen & Ervin provides a full range of services for wills: drafting, review, amendment, revocation, execution and probate. We provide reliable guidance for testators (a “testator” is the person making the will) and executors (an “executor” is the person or other entity given the duty of seeing that the wishes of the testator are carried out after the testator’s death, and is usually referred to in Florida as the “personal representative”).
Our experience in the probate court, resolving issues related to the validity of wills, enables us to provide practical advice for testators. Similarly, our work in the drafting of wills gives us keen insight into how executors should interpret various aspects of a will that may initially seem unclear. Whether you are a testator formulating an estate plan or an executor implementing a decedent’s wishes, Ervin, Kitchen & Ervin can simplify many complex aspects of the tasks before you. We offer pertinent and personal legal advice to obtain the results you need in a timely manner with the least stress possible.
Probate lawyers guide testators in executing a valid and effective will
Executing a valid will is rather simple; executing an effective will takes a bit more work. The probate court admits a will to probate if it finds the instrument was executed intentionally and freely by a person of sound mind, is written in clear, unambiguous language and is signed and witnessed. That’s really the easy part. To be effective, your will must be comprehensive, covering the full range of your worldly possessions and your deepest concerns, and contemplating various contingencies. We work closely with you to memorialize your intentions completely and insuring that they are carried out in the most efficient manner possible.
Once executed, your will remains your final statement of your intentions until you amend or revoke it. We recommend reviewing your will every three to five years and updating it to reflect your current wishes.
Probate lawyers guide executors in properly probating a will
Most executors have never probated a will; many are surprised to learn the decedent’s will named them as the responsible party. We provide indispensable service for executors who have no prior experience in the probate court on matters that include:
- Depositing the will with the Florida probate court
- Developing the best strategy for fairly and expeditiously settling the estate
- Finding and assembling assets
- Paying valid creditors and claimants
- Collecting amounts owed the estate
- Closing and opening bank accounts
- Transferring assets from the deceased to the estate
- Paying current and delinquent taxes as well as estate taxes
- Valuing, managing, preserving and liquidating the estate
- Locating beneficiaries
- Hiring experts, when appropriate
Executors can easily make mistakes because of inexperience, stress and hasty decisions. This can be costly, as executors can be held personally liable for beneficiaries’ losses. We guide executors through every step of the probate process, with reliable, detailed advice, so you can settle the testator’s estate as efficiently, quickly and easily as possible.
Capable management of probate disputes
Even in apparently straightforward estate cases, there are sometimes disputes between disappointed beneficiaries and the will’s executor. When representing executors, we demonstrate the utmost professionalism in negotiations and in the courtroom. Whether the issue is a will challenge or an accusation of mismanagement of estate assets, we advocate vigorously for the executor in seeing that the decedent’s wishes are carried out.
When you contact Ervin, Kitchen & Ervin, you have contacted an experienced and knowledgeable probate lawyer
Ervin, Kitchen & Ervin provides will and probate court services in Tallahassee, Leon County, the surrounding counties of Wakulla, Franklin, Gadsden, Liberty and Jefferson, along the Northern Florida Gulf Coast, and throughout Florida. Call us at 850-224-9135 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.