Palm Harbor Probate Lawyer

Sherri M. Stinson, P.A. helps Palm Harbor residents move through the probate process and distribute assets according to the terms of the will.

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Palm Harbor Probate

If your loved one has recently passed away, his or her estate will likely have to pass through probate before the assets are distributed. This court-supervised process consists of validating the will, inventorying the assets, and paying taxes and debts. Then, in the end, the personal representative distributes the property to the designated beneficiaries. While the process is smooth for some, others face legal challenges from family members and creditors, causing probate to grind to a halt.

Whether you’re facing legal challenges or not, hiring a Palm Harbor probate lawyer can help you expedite the process. Sherri M. Stinson, P.A. can work alongside the personal representative, ensuring that the laws and guidelines are followed. Our probate attorney can also defend your estate against legal challenges.

Types of Probate in Palm Harbor

Palm Harbor estates can go through one of three types of probate. Sherri M. Stinson, P.A. helps clients navigate:

  • Formal administration
  • Summary administration
  • Ancillary probate administration

Types Of Probate In Palm Harbor

Sherri M. Stinson, P.A. is experienced in all types of probate in Palm Harbor. The majority of Palm Harbor estates go through formal administration. This is the most time-consuming and challenging type of probate. The estate will appoint a personal representative to handle inventorying the assets, paying the creditors, and distributing the property. Having a Palm Harbor probate lawyer by your side can help you through this process.

Some estates go through simplified probate, also known as summary administration. Estates are eligible if the decedent passed away at least two years ago or if the estate is valued at $75,000 or less. The process is less complicated, so assets are distributed faster.

Ancillary probate administration is the final option. If your loved one lived in another state but owned property in Palm Harbor, the primary probate process will take place in the state of residence. However, ancillary probate administration will occur in Palm Harbor.

Legal Challenges During Palm Harbor Probate

Your Palm Harbor probate lawyer can represent the estate during legal challenges. Two main types of challenges occur during probate: will contests and creditor claims. A will contest occurs when an “interested person” challenges the validity of the will. The person must have legal standing and grounds to contest the will. Possible grounds include lack of capacity and undue influence. Will contests can slow down the probate process, so having an attorney is vital.

Your attorney can also represent the Palm Harbor estate during creditor claims. This occurs when the creditor makes a claim against the estate for debt. Beneficiaries can ask for proof of the debt, and if it isn’t valid, they can dispute it. While paying debts is a necessary component of probate, you don’t want to pay more than the estate owes, so legal representation is essential.

Non-probate Assets

Not all assets are subject to probate in Palm Harbor. Assets held in a trust do not have to go through probate. Also, joint tenancy property, payable on death accounts, and transfer on death assets are distributed without probate. Life insurance payouts and retirement accounts with beneficiaries do not need to go through probate, either. Your Palm Harbor probate lawyer will discuss which assets don’t need to go through probate during your consultation.

What’s The Timeline For Probate?

Your Palm Harbor probate lawyer will evaluate the estate and discuss the expected timeline with you. If the estate needs to go through formal administration, you can expect it to take six to nine months if there aren’t any complications. However, issues such as disputes can increase the duration. Summary administration is usually complete within three weeks, with many estates passing through in as little as two weeks.

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