In Hollywood, when someone dies, there is a somber meeting, at a lawyer’s office, around a big traditional conference table in a plushy decorated conference room. The heirs eagerly wait to hear what they may have inherited. The scene often includes angry family members just to create more drama.
But that only happens in the movies. I’m not aware of this occurring anymore, at least not in South Florida. I’ve never done it in my firm. One’s attorney determines who should get a copy of the will, and is required to file the original with the clerk of the courts within 10 days of death.
So what really happens? The personal representative (executor) retains an attorney and together they determine who the beneficiaries are, collect the necessary documents and ascertain if a probate estate needs to be opened in court. The trustee (if there is a trust involved in the estate) may also be included in this discussion.
Our firm works to settle estates as quickly as possible. We gather all the information about the assets, acquire death certificates and contact the heirs named, providing them copies of the documents and outlining how the process will work. Depending on the complexities, it should all be wrapped up within 6 months.
So, just because you see it on the big screen, doesn’t make it a reality. We don’t want drama in our offices, or for our clients. Therefore, you won’t see us conducting a “reading of the will” any time soon. You will, however, see an estate settled swiftly, skillfully, and with compassion.
To learn more about Estate Planning, including Wills, Trusts and Probates, as well as the Elder Care services that we provide under the Elder Law Umbrella, call The Law Offices of Alice Reiter Feld and Associates at 954.726.6602 or visit www.florida-elderlaw.com