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Probate and Trust Administration

Whether or not a comprehensive estate plan has been drafted and executed, assets must be administered. Probate (i.e., estate and trust administration) is a court-assisted process through which those who are responsible for the deceased individual’s assets are expected to file petitions, notify beneficiaries and creditors, take inventory, coordinate the appraisal of assets, pay taxes, and distribute assets, among various other tasks.

We can help.

At Fountain & Bridgford, PLLC, we have decades of experience working with clients at every step of the probate process, assisting them with legal matters directly and coordinating with non-legal specialists when necessary.

Estate Planning is the First Step, Probate is the Last

Estate planning is only the first step.

Though estate planning can minimize the risk of conflict further down the line, the estate and trust assets must be effectively administered to ensure that the distribution of said assets goes off without a hitch. We shepherd clients through the probate process to ensure that all the assets are not only properly identified and valued, but that they are protected to the greatest extent possible from unscrupulous creditors and the machinations of hostile beneficiaries.

Comprehensive Probate and Trust Administration Services

In a time of incapacity, the administration of the incapacitated person’s assets and care may require:

  •    Management of medical care
  •    Securing insurance benefits
  •    Handling the care of dependents
  •    Maintaining property
  •    Continuing business
  •    Record-keeping
  •    And more

Once an individual has died, executors and trustees have a number of responsibilities that include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  •    Filing petitions with the Probate Court
  •    Notifying beneficiaries and creditors
  •    Collecting benefits
  •    Coordinating with an advisory team
  •    Inventorying assets
  •    Appraising assets
  •    Paying off creditors
  •    Paying taxes
  •    Record-keeping
  •    Distributing remaining assets to designated beneficiaries

We work with executors and trustees, in periods of incapacity and death. We understand how overwhelming the responsibilities foisted on an executor and/or trustee can seem to those who are unfamiliar with the procedures, and in fact, it’s quite uncommon for a layperson to navigate probate on their own, without outside legal assistance. Though it’s certainly possible to do so without outside legal assistance, there is a high likelihood that there will be inefficiencies due to a lack of experience.

For example, when an estate is being probated, there may be creditors who aggressively pursue claims against the estate. A layperson may not be aware of which assets are protected against such claims (i.e., assets held in an irrevocable trust or some other shielded vehicle) and which are not. Our attorneys are here to make sure that you have the information and guidance necessary to execute your duties flawlessly.

If you’re confused by the probate and trust administration process, or if you are concerned about the possibility of a dispute centered around the distribution or management of estate assets, then we encourage you to seek immediate legal assistance. Our team has extensive experience guiding clients through the complicated web of issues associated with probate and trust administration.

Call 850-939-3535 or send us a message online to schedule an appointment with an attorney at Fountain & Bridgford, PLLC today.


Fountain & Bridgford, PLLC Firm Logo

2045 Fountain Professional Court, Suite A Navarre, FL 32566
Phone: 850-939-3535- Fax: 850-939-3539