Judy-Ann Smith Law Firm, P.A
Probate & Administration of Estates
Learn more about our Probate & Administration of Estates services below, including Guardianship & Conservatorship, Administration of Estates, and Will Contests & Other Disputes.
Guardianship & Conservatorship
Is a member of your family no longer able to make reasonable decisions for himself or herself? Is a parent unable to handle his or her own finances any longer? It may be time to petition a court for guardianship and conservatorship. The court will determine whether the “allegedly incapacitated person” needs someone to make decisions for them.
Duties of Guardian and Conservator
A guardian’s role is very much like that of a parent. The guardian makes decisions about where the “ward” lives and what medical care he or she receives. A guardian can also play a limited role with respect to the wards finances, such as serving as the person’s Social Security Representative payee. However, for plenary authority over the ward’s finances, one would need to be declared the person’s conservator.
Probate Court Processes
Many people appreciate the assistance of an attorney who has experience with Probate Court processes related to petitioning for guardianship and/or conservatorship. The processes can be cumbersome and confusing for people who have not been through them. Furthermore, if the allegedly incapacitated person objects to the petition, he or she is entitled to be represented by an attorney, even if he or she cannot afford one (in which case, the county pays for the attorney).
Administration of Estates
Following the death of a family member, we help clients:
• Prepare and file papers with the probate court to get a personal representative (executor) appointed
• Advise and assist the personal representative in administering the estate, including paying debts, selling property and distributing the estate
• Advise and assist trustees in the administration of a trust
• Represent people with respect to will contests and other estate disputes; or serve as mediator.
Will Contests & Other Disputes
We assist clients who are involved in disputes involving an estate:
• We represent personal representatives, trustees and beneficiaries, through negotiation and representation in court.
• We also offer mediation services to help parties to these disputes resolve their differences outside of court.