Things To Know About Florida Probate Law
The process of probate is proving that the last will of a deceased person is valid. When probate is granted, it means that it is the first of the many legal processes in administering the division of the estate of a deceased person’s property.
The term probate came from a Latin verb called probare that means to prove or to test. The process involves proving the validity of a will left by a deceased person so that the properties can be transferred to the beneficiaries at the soonest possible time. For more questions about probate matters, you can visit sits such as https://silverstonelawfl.com and talk to an attorney for advice.
Who Needs a Will?
In Florida, a will is needed when a person wishes to leave his estates and assets to a specific person or group of people. It can be as simple as stating in writing that he will leave his house to his four children or his wife. Or it can be complicated such as specifying that 2 million dollars will go to his favorite child, Sam, while the house will be left to his uncle George.
For people who are living together but are not married, one partner must leave a will if he chooses to leave his assets to his other partner when he dies. This is because if there’s no will, the assets will be left to the next of kin. This means that the assets will be left to the parents or the children but not to the live-in partner.
In the case of married people, the estate is left to the wife if the husband dies. If there’s no wife and no children, then it will be given to the mother or father. This is why for people, especially the ones who belong to the LGBTQ+ community, they should have a will ready in case they would decide to leave their assets to the partner who cared for them for a long time but is not considered as next of kin.
Why You Need an Attorney in the Probate Process?
If you are not familiar with the court proceedings, probate can be a nightmare. This is because it involves filing endless forms, doing lots of paperwork, attending multiple court hearings, an in-depth understanding of the legal laws in Florida, and a lot of other regulations that you didn’t care about previously. Any individual should not be subjected to any nightmares especially the legal ones after they have lost a loved one. This can be too much for any person.
If you are an executor and you need assistance, a probate attorney can do the following for you:
- Identifying all the assets of the deceased including the probate and the non-probate assets.
- Get the written value and make arrangements for the appraisal of an estate’s properties and assets.
- Filing all the legal forms and submitting complete information to the court.
- Manage the retirement funds including 401k and IRA and collecting payouts from insurance companies.
- Paying all the debts, final bills for medical and funeral expenses.
- Tracking of existing bank accounts and investments.
- Managing all the property taxes, inheritance taxes, and other personal unpaid taxes of the deceased. The attorney can also advise where to get the money to pay all the taxes.
- Settling issues with beneficiaries who contest the will.
- Making sure that the distribution process is done in the soonest time, all the debts and taxes are fully paid, and the final probate processes are completed.
Other Things That a Lawyer Can Assist You With
There are chances that you can overpay some of the debts if you were not aware of the full amount of the debts, taxes, and liabilities of your deceased loved one. There are also mistakes such as underpaying the debts and taxes which can lead to trouble with the law. Some of the deceased’ creditors might also require legal documents that prove that you are the executor or the administrator of the will. This way, they won’t charge you with extra and you only pay what is due.
Family members who’ve had expected to be one of the beneficiaries but were not included in the will can file lawsuits. They will contest the will to the best of their abilities, and they can do everything just to have a part of the inheritance. Most of the lawsuits can take years to complete. Lawsuits can also be exhausting especially if the ones involved are closest family members. To have a clear and open discussion, a lawyer might be needed to mediate into everything.
There are specific documents that are needed to be filed in the court within a timeframe. These documents should be filled up with the right information or the Florida courts will not accept them. Documents which were filed wrong will be rejected and the process of probating will become longer. A lawyer on board will know how to supply the correct information and do the tedious paperwork so that the process can move forward.
Is it Possible to Have Handle Probate Without a Lawyer?
Yes, you can handle court proceedings without a probate lawyer, and you might think that you can save some estate money in the process. However, court processes are long and complicated. Without the understanding of the rules and regulations in Florida, you will be held liable if something goes wrong. There are times that if you don’t send the correct file for a petition or you missed a deadline, the entire process will come into a halt.
Some Difficulties in Court
Courts will require you to submit clear copies of forms with specific colors of folders to use. If you don’t follow the simple fonts or folder color required, your probate case will not be handled at all. Most of the complications that will arise will be handled by a probate attorney including disputes about taxes. There are also ambiguities and disputes on the will that need clarifications. Most unfinished contracts or business partnerships with the possibilities of disputes can easily be resolved.