Pensacola Wills, Probate & Estate Attorney

Pensacola Probate and Estate Law

husband and wife walking on beach with their children during sunsetHave you recently lost a loved one?

We understand that the loss of a loved one, either suddenly or after an extended illness, is never easy for a family. A good number of times, the decedent may never have executed a will, making matters more emotionally difficult for the family. And even when there has been proper planning, understanding the will and probate process can be daunting.

When an individual dies in the State of Florida, having assets and dependents, a petition must be filed for probate before the assets can be distributed. Probate means the process of legally establishing the validity of a will.

The term probate also means the process of gathering assets, valuing the estate (assets and liabilities of the decedent) at the date of death, paying the debts, taxes, and expenses of administration, and making a final distribution to the named beneficiaries in a will. The executor or personal representative named in the will is the individual who, with the help of an attorney, facilitates an orderly method for administration of the decedent’s estate. This individual is held accountable by the beneficiaries and may be entitled to a reasonable fee or commission for their services.

If you need assistance with probate, we would be happy to meet with you.

Other critical documents:

Durable Power of Attorney – a legal document that gives another person (known as an “agent” or “attorney-in-fact”) the authority to transact business (financial, etc.) on your behalf. Because a Durable Power of Attorney (“DPOA”) can be used in a variety of ways, you must be EXTREMELY CAUTIOUS in choosing the “agent”. The individual you choose should be a trusted friend or family member. Unscrupulous individuals have been known to take advantage of the principal who made the DPOA.

Health Care Surrogate – a legal document that gives another person the authority to make health-related decisions for you, give that individual access to your medical records, etc. As with the Durable Power of Attorney, you want to appoint a trusted friend or family member.

Living Will – a legal document that advises your medical doctors of your final wishes as to whether or not to receive food and water at the end of your life if it only serves to prolong the dying process

The Wills, Probate and Estate Attorneys at Staples, Ellis & Associates serve clients in Pensacola County, Escambia County, Santa Rosa County, Okaloosa County, Walton County, and throughout Northwest Florida.