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Probate Lawyer

Probate laws are complicated. It can be exhausting to inventory assets while dealing with creditors, taxes, and beneficiary disputes.

Selis Law Firm can help you with the administration of a loved one's estate, or help you plan your own estate smartly with probate in mind.

Learn how our law firm helps the elderly population in Palm Coast and Ormond Beach, FL, with probate court matters...

What Is Probate?

In the most basic terms, probate refers to the legal process of settling a deceased's estate. During the process, certain assets are inventoried, outstanding debts and taxes are paid, and the remaining balance is distributed. Probate can occur whether or not the deceased has a will.

Gathering the Deceased's Assets

Only certain assets are processed through probate court. Probate assets are any of the deceased's individual assets. These are assets in their name only, and with no named beneficiaries. Examples of probate assets include real estate, vehicles, bank accounts, and other solely owned titled assets.

Paying Debts and Taxes

After the deceased's inventoried assets are gathered, the assets will then be used to pay the deceased's outstanding debts, such as loans, credit cards, mortgages, and even funeral costs. A tax return must also be filed for the deceased, and any estate taxes that are due must be paid.

Distributing the Estate

When all creditors have been paid and taxes settled, the remaining assets are then distributed among the beneficiaries, with transfers of deeds and titles as needed. There are different methods of distributing the remaining assets depending on the presence of a valid will by the deceased.

Jointly Owned Property Understanding Probate Law

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Since only individual assets are subject to probate, joint ownerships do not have to go through court. One estate planning strategy a probate lawyer may recommend is setting up a sound joint tenancy, so the assets automatically go to the surviving owner or owners. A tenancy by the entirety can be set up for married couples.

Why You Need a Probate Attorney How Selis Law Firm Can Help

Smart Estate Planning to Avoid Probate

If you are elderly and would like to minimize the hassles of probate, Selis Law Firm offers smart estate planning done right. Whether it's establishing a revocable trust or joint ownership of property, our law firm can make sure your loved ones receive the assets you want them to.
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Breaking Down Complicated Legal Concepts

Without a probate lawyer, you may feel lost in the intricacies of probate law. Working with a lawyer you can trust means you can ask for clarification whenever it's needed, and as many times as you need. We will translate legalese into a language you can understand.

Open, Honest, Accessible Communication

Communication with a skilled probate attorney at Selis Law Firm is both safe and convenient. Whether on the phone, over the internet on video chat, or in person if you are unable to leave your home, you can speak with a probate lawyer who will listen and who cares.

We Do More Than Just Paperwork

Some probate lawyers simply fill out paperwork and sort out the estate with minimal effort. At our law offices in Ormond Beach and Palm Coast, we approach your probate case with compassion. We care about your needs and end goals, not just about the process.

A Probate Law Testimonial

"Due to the untimely passing of my sister, and being new to the area, I had to rely on reviews by neighbors in locating an estate attorney to help me navigate the Florida probate process. It's been a daunting year to say the least, but with the help, guidance, and assistance of Selis Elder Law, the process proceeded. Scott and his team provided much needed guidance; answers to questions (and sometimes the same question many times so I could fully understand it); and courteous, caring, and professional service. The situation that brought us together was heartbreaking for me personally, but I was in good hands throughout the process. Thank you, Scott, Chelsea, DeLisa, and Lorrie--and all the others behind the scenes!" John Margie Check - 5 Star Google Review - 2019

Schedule a Consultation Learn More about the Probate Process

The probate process is often complicated and emotionally exhausting, which is why it's important to work with a lawyer who is familiar with probate law as well as the intricacies of wills, trusts, and estate planning.

Attorney Scott Selis offers the guidance you need. He has helped countless elderly clients in Volusia and Flagler Counties, offering easy-to-understand explanations about probate law and what to expect in court.

If you would like to speak with a probate attorney who keeps his clients informed, contact Selis Law Firm online or call our offices in Ormond Beach and Palm Coast at:

(866) 735-3377

The team at Selis Law Firm

Types of Probate Administration

There are three ways an estate can be settled in the state of Florida. Our law firm can recommend the best type for your situation.

Formal Administration

Formal administration is the most common or "normal" kind of probate process. Florida state law requires formal administration when the decedent's non-exempt assets exceed $75,000, and when less than two years have passed since the decedent's death.

Summary Administration

Summary administration is used when the decedent's probate estate is less than $75,000 or if the decedent died more than two years ago. Given the name, these kinds of probate cases tend to proceed much faster than formal administration proceedings.

Disposition without Administration

Disposition without administration is for cases in which the decedent's funeral and medical expenses within 60 days of their death exceeds probate assets. In addition, the decedent's probate assets must not be real estate and must be exempt from creditors.

Domiciliary vs. Ancillary Additional Types of Probate

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Domiciliary probate refers to a decedent's assets that are located in Florida when the decedent was a Florida resident. Ancillary probate refers to assets located in Florida but the decedent is not a Florida resident. A lawyer can offer guidance with these assets, how they should be reported, and the multiple court filings that may be required.

Probate with and without a Will

While a will is helpful during the probate process, decedents do not always draft a will or have an estate plan. When one is not present, the distribution of assets is determined by the state of Florida's intestacy laws.

With a Will

The personal representative executes the will to the best of their ability. In the will, the decedent specifies which assets are distributed to specific beneficiaries.

Without a Will

Property will still go to the decedent's heirs based on the state's intestacy laws of succession. A surviving spouse is among the first beneficiaries.

What about Trusts? Avoiding Probate Court

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Assets in a revocable or "living" trust do not go through the probate process. The trustee will distribute assets to the beneficiaries who are named in the trust agreement. Our law firm in Ormond Beach and Palm Coast can help you create a trust and assist with other estate planning needs.

"Caring, efficient, and knowledgeable." We Are Here for the People of Ormond Beach and Palm Coast

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Pat Logan

2021

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Our family has been a client of Selis Elder Law of Florida for the past three years. We actually followed Scott Selis from another law firm because of Scott Selis' expertise and compassion. A couple of his expert staff went with Scott when he opened his own law firm. This says a lot about his character and integrity. Scott's guidance in creating two trusts for our family made it easy, and he answered every question that we had. If you or your family needs an elder law firm, we highly recommend Selis Elder Law of Florida. You will be very pleased with the care that he and his staff show you and, most importantly, the results.

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1

Tami Zmyj

2021

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We were very happy with the all the guidance and advice we received from Selis Elder Law. During the midst of COVID, my sister-in-law moved here, got sick, and ended up in a nursing home. Selis Law directed us to ensure that our family member will be protected financially. The staff is caring, efficient, and knowledgeable.

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Speak with an Insightful Probate Attorney Our Law Firm Can Help You in Probate Court

Whether you're struggling with the complexities of Florida probate law or trying to wisely plan your estate, the team at Selis Law Firm can help. Our offices in Ormond Beach and Palm Coast are ready to listen to you and offer our guidance. Our law firm will stand by your side and have your back. We encourage you to schedule a consultation online or give us a call at:

(866) 735-3377

Our team is known for clear and honest communication...

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The Probate Process What to Expect During Formal Administration

With empathy and compassion, Selis Law Firm helps bring peace of mind to families of all types as they plan for illness, disability, and death.
With empathy and compassion, Selis Law Firm helps bring peace of mind to families of all types as they plan for illness, disability, and death.

Meeting with a Lawyer

After a loved one's passing, it's a good idea to speak with an attorney. Your lawyer can help obtain any documentation necessary for the process. If you are a personal representative for the decedent, our law offices in Ormond Beach and Palm Coast can assist with your responsibilities and answer your questions about executing the decedent's will in accordance with Florida law.

Filing a Petition with Court

The probate case officially begins when the personal representative files a Petition for Administration with supporting documentation. This should be filed with the court in the county in which the decedent resided.
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Notifying Creditors

The personal representative then notifies creditors of the decedent's passing and that their estate is now open. This can be done directly, though the personal representative must also publish a Notice to Creditors in a local newspaper in the county where the estate is being executed. The notice must run once a week for two consecutive weeks.

Inventory of Assets

The personal representative must compile an inventory of the decedent's assets. The value of these assets must also be calculated. This information is then filed with the court.

Paying the Decedent's Debts

The decedent's debts are paid using available cash from the decedent's estate account. If there is not enough cash on hand, the personal representative can sell the decedent's property in order to satisfy the outstanding debt.

Filing the Decedent's Taxes

A final income tax return is filed for the decedent, and any estate taxes are paid. The personal representative could personally face penalties if this final tax return is filed incorrectly. Having a probate lawyer help with this process is crucial for avoiding costly mistakes.

Distributing the Remaining Assets

With all debts paid, taxes settled, and records of all transactions compiled, the personal representative can then distribute the remaining assets in accordance with the decedent's will.

Closing the Estate

Once all of the decedent's assets have been distributed, the personal representative files a petition to discharge themselves as a fiduciary and officially close the estate.

"An outstanding job" We Prepare Clients for the Probate Process

"My wife and I knew it was time to get serious about estate planning for the benefit of our family when we are gone. Scott Selis and his team has done an outstanding job of preparing our trusts, reviewing and rewriting our wills, and rewriting our property deeds to be in accordance with Florida law. The steps and the process they walked us through was organized and easy to understand. We highly recommend Selis Elder Law for your family estate planning needs." Larry Blankenship, 5-Star Google Review in 2020

Contact Our Elder Law Practice A Law Firm Committed to Issues Facing the Elderly

If you've lost a loved one or are planning your estate, you need a knowledgeable lawyer on your side to prepare for any issues with the probate process. Selis Law Firm stands with the elderly community of Ormond Beach and Palm Coast, and can provide compassionate counsel while an estate is being settled. To discuss your situation with a probate attorney who will listen to you, contact Selis Law Firm online or call our offices at:

(866) 735-3377

Our law firm will stand by your side when you need it most...

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Mediation or Litigation Resolving Probate Cases

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Probate lawyers have different methods of resolving disputes in probate cases. Mediation avoids going to court, and involves a third-party mediator who facilities a negotiation between the attorneys for the parties in conflict. If the attorneys cannot reach a mutually agreeable compromise, the dispute will head to court for litigation.

"I would highly recommend this firm to anyone" An Attorney Who Listens to the Needs of the Elderly

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Jack Caufield

2020

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Wonderful attorney's office. They have the utmost knowledge of estate planning whether you are a snowbird like myself or a year around resident. I would highly recommend this firm to anyone interested in the best in estate planning. They have an excellent knowledgeable staff as well.

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Kenneth Kalva

2020

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It was a pleasure working with Scott and his staff for my estate planning needs. They are friendly, knowledgeable, thorough, professional, and easy to work with. Highly recommended.

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Probate FAQs

How long does the probate process take?

The probate process can take several months or longer, particularly if an estate is challenged or if there are disputes between beneficiaries. The overall time can even vary from lawyer to lawyer. In some cases, Selis Law Firm has been able to reach the distribution of assets in as little as two to eight weeks.

What are the most common methods of avoiding probate?

To avoid probate, an attorney may recommend the following:

  • Establishing a trust
  • Setting up a joint ownership
  • Making beneficiary designations (e.g., payable on death/POD) on applicable accounts

Our probate lawyer can walk you through these various methods while planning your estate.

Can a personal representative also be a beneficiary?

Yes. Just because someone is selected to execute a will doesn't prevent them from being named in the will and receiving assets from the decedent.

Are all of a decedent's assets considered in a probate case?

No. The assets that go through probate court differ from all of the decedent's total assets, which are referred to as their gross assets. A lawyer can help note this distinction during the case if you are uncertain how an asset should be categorized.
Scott Selis

Selis Law Firm

The team of compassionate elder law professionals at Selis Law Firm strives to provide families with peace of mind as they plan for the future. Our services include:

To schedule a consultation at our office serving Ormond Beach and Palm Coast, FL, contact us online or call (866) 735-3377 today.

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