What is Probate?

Probate is a complex legal process that helps prove or verify a deceased’s estate and divides assets and property among beneficiaries. Probate is a court-supervised procedure in which a personal representative identifies a decedent’s assets, pays their debts, and resolves outstanding issues before final distribution among the beneficiaries.

Under Florida law, there are two types of probate: formal administration and summary administration. Summary administration only applies when decedent has been dead for over two years or a decedent’s assets total less than $75,000.

Why is Probate necessary?

Probate is required in order to pass ownership of a decedent’s property and assets to beneficiaries. If the decedent has a valid will, it alone is not enough to pass assets to beneficiaries. Probate requires the identification of debts and liabilities and settling with creditors so the beneficiaries can receive the remainder of the estate.

Probate proceedings are filed in circuit court of the county in which the decedent resided or owned real property. Typically, an estate plan names a personal representative or administrator of an estate. Martinez Law can provide valuable assistance through the process by providing legal advice, complying with filing deadlines, and identifying any potential liabilities from healthcare providers, credit card issuers and the IRS.

A court appointed Personal Representative is required to administer the estate in accordance with Florida probate law. A personal representative of an estate can be held personally liable for errors created by failing to properly follow the Florida Probate Code. Martinez Law provides practical advice and effective assistance, prepares and files the appropriate documents as needed by the Probate Court.

Probate can be a complicated process, and issues often arise in the probate process that were not anticipated when a will was drafted. Martinez Law represents the personal representative named in the will or appointed by the court in carrying out the terms of the will. Martinez Law will also represent a personal representative appointed by the court if there was no will to probate the intestate estate in accordance with Florida Probate law. Martinez Law assists the personal representative with the various responsibilities under the Probate Code, including:

  • Identification and collection of all probate assets
  • Finding and notifying creditors which may file claims against the estate
  • Making proper objections against any claims improperly lodged against the estate, and defend such actions in court
  • Hire accountants and other professionals as necessary for estate administration
  • Satisfy valid claims, statutory fees and other expenses of the estate
  • Maintain, manage or liquidate real estate or other property of the estate
  • File required tax returns and pay taxes in a timely manner

Probate can be confusing and is an added source of stress at a time when you are grieving. We are here to help ease the process and provide guidance throughout probate. For more information, or to schedule a free initial consultation, please contact us.

Helping families residing in another state Probate an estate in Florida

Many people retire in Florida, leaving out-of-state loved ones to Probate their estate after they die. Martinez Law represents out-of-state family members going through probate administration in Florida. We can help families with many of the problems associated with probate administration. Our goal is to make this process as painless and convenient as possible.

Trust Administration in Florida

A trustee is a fiduciary and has a legal duty to make sure that assets of the trust are invested wisely and distributed in accordance with the terms of the trust document. Trusts are often complicated, lengthy documents with confusing legalese and complex distribution schemes. A simple and inadvertent mistake can have serious ramifications and lead to litigation.

Martinez Law will advise the trustee and help administer the trust according to the terms of the trust document, we can assist the trustee:

  • Prepare documents required for proper trust administration
  • Provide timely notice to beneficiaries
  • File required tax returns
  • Settle the trust estate
  • Hold property under a sub-trust until the occurrence of a triggering event
  • Distribute trust assets

Experienced Legal Representation in greater Tampa Bay area for Probate & Trust Administration

For straightforward advice and effective assistance in the probate of an estate or trust administration in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee and surrounding counties, contact Martinez Law at or call us 813-288-1529 or 727-363-1529.


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“I make sure my clients know where they stand and what to expect from me and the law, every step of the way.” ~Joseph Martinez, Esq.
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