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Thomas Upchurch PA - Upchurch Law Daytona Beach, FL

An Experienced & Tough Negotiator You Can Trust.

When you are looking for someone to handle your estate litigation and probate affairs, you need an experienced, aggressive, and tough Florida probate attorney who is dedicated to protecting your rights.

Thomas Upchurch is a seasoned litigator who has handled many different estate and trusts situations. Based in Daytona Beach, we provide the highest quality legal counsel to our clients throughout Florida. We can represent you on all issues surrounding Estate Administration and Estate Litigation, Will ContestsUndue Influence cases and more. Our team at Upchurch Law will work tirelessly to make sure you and your family are taken care of.

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    Probate is the court supervised process in which a deceased person’s assets are transferred to the beneficiaries listed in his or her will.

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    A will is intended to ensure that the creator’s assets are distributed according to his or her wishes, rather than passing according to

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    With a growing senior population, exploitation of the elderly is an escalating concern. Seniors often depend on family members or caregivers for even

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    If your loved one has been coerced to create a new will or trust, Upchurch Law can help reclaim probate rights through estate

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    If you or a loved one has been unfairly influenced to create a binding contract, you may be able to claim undue influence.

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    Frequently Asked Estate Planning and Probate Questions

    The length of the probate process in Florida depends on the type of proceeding. There are two primary types of probate in Florida: formal probate administration and summary probate administration. In addition, in limited circumstances, disposition without administration may be available as an option. Formal probate administration typically takes between six and nine months from start to finish. Summary probate administration, which is reserved for estates worth less than $75,000 that have no debt, can take as little as one month to complete.
    In most circumstances, a personal representative must hire a Florida probate attorney to assist with the probate process. The only situations where it isn’t necessary include summary administration, disposition without administration, and any estate where the executor is the sole beneficiary. However, it is advisable to seek legal guidance regardless of the type of probate proceeding.
    Generally, estates worth $75,000 and above require a Florida probate attorney. There are only some instances where a lawyer isn’t necessary. As noted above, these include summary administration, disposition without administration, and any estate where the executor is the sole beneficiary.
    There are several reasons to hire an estate planning attorney, including:
    • Estate planning is extremely complicated
    • No two estate plans are exactly the same, so a lawyer is necessary to design a custom plan
    • The one-size-fits-all estate planning documents available online fail to take people’s unique estate planning needs into consideration
    • An estate planning attorney can take steps to avoid the probate process
    Estate planning is a process in which an estate planning attorney works with an individual to determine how his or her assets will be preserved, held, and distributed after his or her passing. It also involves planning for the management of a person’s property and financial obligations should he or she become incapacitated.
    When a person dies, his or her assets must pass along to the rightful beneficiaries and/or heirs. Probate is the process by which this happens when a decedent has no will, has a will, or has a trust but failed to place all his or her assets into the trust. In some cases, disputes arise regarding the distribution of assets during probate. When probate-related disputes arise, a probate litigation attorney provides legal guidance to individuals, beneficiaries, heirs, executors, and trustees to help ensure a satisfactory resolution.
    A will expresses a party’s wishes regarding how his or her assets are to be distributed to beneficiaries after his or her death. A will contest is an effort to invalidate the will of a deceased person. A will may be contested for a variety of reasons. To contest a will, a party must have the legal standing and the legal basis to do so. In addition, there are strict deadlines for filing a will contest in Florida. In other words, will contests are complicated. Therefore, although not required by law, anyone seeking to contest a will in Florida should seek the assistance of an experienced will contest lawyer.
    When a party contests a will, he or she must pay all upfront costs for beginning a court case. As litigation progresses, the contesting party must pay to hire attorneys and other professionals. If a person loses a will contest, he or she may have to cover court costs for the prevailing party. In addition, when considering whether to contest a will, a party should first assess the value of the estate. If the estate is small, a will contest could potentially badly deplete the estate.
    In most cases, a personal representative must hire an attorney to assist with probate administration. However, even in cases in which a probate administration attorney isn’t required by law, it is advisable to hire an attorney for assistance with probate administration. Below are a few examples of the ways a probate administration attorney can help with the probate process:
    • Prepare legal documents:  Regardless of the size of the estate, the probate process requires the preparation and submission of a lot of paperwork. Without extensive knowledge of the probate process in Florida, completing and submitting all required documents by their respective deadlines can be challenging. A knowledgeable estate administration lawyer will ensure that all required probate documents are legally sufficient and submitted in a timely manner.
    • Prevent claims against the estate: During the probate process, people may attempt to make claims against the estate. An experienced and knowledgeable probate administration lawyer can reduce the filing of such claims by ensuring that the probate administration process proceeds in a timely manner without unnecessary delays. 
    • Mitigate disputes: Disputes among family members often arise during the probate administration process. An attorney can help mitigate such issues. 
    • Interpret the will: Wills are complicated legal documents, and they can be difficult to interpret, especially if prepared by a non-attorney. An experienced attorney can help an estate’s personal representative interpret the terms of the will to ensure that the decedent’s wishes regarding his or her property are honored.  
    • Management of creditors: Regardless of the size of an estate, creditors are often one of the biggest concerns during the probate administration process. In Florida, creditors receive higher priority than beneficiaries, so it is important to hire an experienced attorney to accurately determine the full extent of an estate’s creditors when a person passes away.
    A Florida estate administration lawyer helps guide the personal representative through the probate administration process, ensuring that all legal requirements are met and that the personal representative has the information necessary to faithfully carry out his or her duties under Florida law.

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    Probate is a legal process that identifies and gathers the decedent’s (i.e., a deceased person) assets, pays the decedent’s debts, and distributes the

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