Do You Need A Lawyer To Help You Resolve These Common Probate Disputes?

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probate lawyer

The first thing many people think they need to do when they are appointed executor is to hire a probate lawyer. You may decide that you need legal advice from an experienced lawyer who is familiar with both the state law and the workings of your local probate court. 

However, not all executors need to hand over a probate court proceeding to a lawyer. For that matter, you may not even need to hire one for minimal advice. The fact of the matter is, you may be able to manage the estate without the help of a probate lawyer if it doesn’t have any unusual assets or isn’t too big.

To ensure that you make the right call, let’s explore some common probate disputes that come up and determine whether a probate lawyer is necessary.

The Will Has Conflicting Versions. Do I Need a Lawyer?

A lot of people write a will while they are young, only to write another one later in life. A rewrite of the will is necessary if there are any changes in their financial or family situation. It is easy to see which version will be used if the financial and familial terms of your relative were simple when they died. But if there were significant changes that took place between the times they wrote their first and final wills, you should probably hire a probate lawyer to assist you.

Undue Influence

There are times when the paperwork alone doesn’t paint a complete picture. For example, you can challenge the will if the decedent signed it under duress. Moreover, you can challenge the will if you suspect undue influence. For instance, your aunt’s childlessness may have meant that she left equal estate shares to her nieces and nephews. However, she suffered from dementia and lived with a family member when she passed away. You will need to hire a lawyer to represent you. Undue influence disputes can be very ugly.

No Will Was Left

Florida’s laws on intestate succession allow the closest relatives of the deceased to be the heirs of their estate. If someone wants to challenge the law of intestate succession if there is no will present at the death, they must show grounds for why they are challenging. Other than that, no probate lawyer is necessary.

What Is Probate?

Probate is a court-supervised process that authenticates your will, if you have one, and approves your executor to distribute your property. All your assets must first be identified and valued for their total value during probate. After that, taxes and debts must be paid, and the estate’s remaining value is distributed.

This process becomes more complex in cases where no will is available (meaning that your estate is intestate). The courts will handle all proceedings and make the final decisions because there is no documentation to support your wishes.

If you don’t plan properly, probate will be a part of your estate. A solid estate plan can make the probate process much easier or even completely avoidable. Your loved ones will find it easier to plan for your death if you take the time now.

Creating trust is one way to reduce the stress and burden of probate or even eliminate it entirely. Your trust will protect any assets that you have.

Probate can be viewed as a controlled process that ensures your beneficiaries receive the correct titles and assets. If there is no will or trust, the court will appoint someone who will represent your estate. The personal representative will take care of all the duties that an executor would do if there was a will. While some assets and property from an estate will always be subject to probate, others (such as those in a trust), will not.

If you want to ensure that your property and assets go to the right person or persons, you will want to be sure to take the time to write a will and estate planning. To ensure that you follow the proper channels and complete the appropriate steps, contact Crary Buchanan Attorneys at Law today. We will be happy to assist you in your planning needs.

Call Crary Buchanan Attorneys at Law Today

Crary Buchanan Attorneys at Law specializes in wills, trusts, estate planning, and probate and can provide the legal counsel you need in all matters. We are dedicated to providing our clients with comprehensive representation, so if you need a knowledgeable probate lawyer, please contact us today. We proudly serve Stuart and the surrounding areas and are here to assist you with your legal concerns. 

The information in this blog post is for reference only and not legal advice. As such, you should not decide whether to contact a lawyer based on the information in this blog post. Moreover, there is no lawyer-client relationship resulting from this blog post, nor should any such relationship be implied. If you need legal counsel, please consult a lawyer licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.