Probate is the legal procedure for transferring a person’s assets to his or her heirs and paying their final debts after death. It is conducted by the Florida Probate Court, as there is no Federal Probate law. A person’s estate is passed down either according to their will or, if there is no will, according to state law.

When a loved one passes away, the last thing you want to worry about is managing the probate process. We handle the entire probate process for you, including any estate taxes that may be due. In addition, we can assist you in obtaining a guardianship and prepare all types of wills and trusts to meet your specific requirements.

Probate Administration

When a person dies, whether they have a will or not, a Probate file must be opened and an Executor must be appointed to oversee and carry out the probate procedure. This process takes roughly a year on average, although it might take longer in more complex estates. Probate administration allows for effective management and distribution of the deceased’s assets. The process of submitting a will in court and administering the estate is referred to as the probate process. 

Although most people associate probate proceedings with a testamentary will, intestate estates (those left without a will) can also be probated and handled under Florida law. Our estate planning attorneys in Lakeland, FL can assist you in understanding the probate administration process and can provide assistance and legal advice to another person who is administering a probate estate.

The Probate Process

The probate process begins with filing the will in probate court. If the will is not challenged, the executor or personal representative will pay the estate’s debts and transfer any remaining assets to the beneficiaries. If the deceased person left a testamentary will, it is this document that controls how assets are distributed during the probate process. If there is no will or if the will only covers a portion of the estate, the beneficiaries and distribution are determined by the state of Florida law.

The Florida probate court oversees this process. The following steps are typically included:

  1. Appoint an executor if there isn’t already one named in the will. If an individual does not name an executor, or if that person is unable or unwilling to serve, the court will appoint an executor of the estate. This person has the right to receive payment from the estate for services rendered.
  2. Identify and notify the deceased’s heirs, beneficiaries, creditors, and the general public about the deceased individual and the creation of the probate estate.
  3. Determine the value of property. To determine the worth of the estate, the executor must inventory all of the property. Beneficiaries may not receive all or part of their inheritance if the estate does not have enough assets to pay creditors.
  4. Pay taxes and creditors, then distribute assets to beneficiaries. Creditors, including the IRS, are paid in priority order, and any remaining monies are dispersed among the heirs in accordance with the will or Florida law.

Medina Law Group, P.A. specializes in providing comprehensive estate planning legal services to clients in Lakeland, FL and throughout Polk County and Central Florida, including probate administration and wills. If you or your family have questions about estate planning, we encourage you to contact our office and discuss your options today.


Last Will & Testament

A will is a legal document that directs the distribution of your assets after your death to your designated heirs and beneficiaries. It is the building block of an effective estate plan for all individuals.


Trusts are legal arrangements that provide for the transfer of assets from their owner (trustor) to a trustee. For some, the creation of a trust is a crucial part of a complete and effective estate plan.

Trust Administration

If you were named the trustee of someone’s estate, it is recommended to work with an experienced attorney to help facilitate the management of trust property according to the trust document terms.

Asset Protection Planning

You’ve worked hard for your property—be sure to protect it. Asset protection planning helps keep your property and wealth safe from being taken by someone who wins a lawsuit against you.

Advance Directive

Advance directives are written, legal instructions regarding your preferences for end-of-life care and naming a health care proxy. They are an essential part of a complete estate plan.

Gun Trusts

Gun trusts, also known as firearms trusts, NFA trusts, Class 3 trusts, or firearms revocable trusts, are an excellent way to legally purchase and own a Title II firearm and/or regular firearms in Florida.

Your better legacy depends upon the accuracy and completeness of your estate plan

Contact us today to talk to a Florida Bar board certified specialist who has the expertise to help you plan your estate.