If a loved one recently passes away and you’re trying to figure out what to do with their estate, experienced probate lawyers can help. Understandably, you might be afraid to take the necessary steps to move forward with the decedent’s will. In this guide, we will walk you through a typical probate process so you know what to expect.
At Crary Buchanan Attorneys at Law, we specialize in probate litigation and will fight to achieve a desirable outcome. You can reach our law office toll-free at (888) 899-8161. If you live in Stuart or the surrounding areas, feel free to contact us locally at (772) 287-2600.
If you prefer, you can also fill out our online contact form, and a trusted member of our staff will get back to you. If you need experienced probate lawyers in Stuart, we encourage you to call today.
What Is Probate?
Probate refers to a comprehensive process held by the court. This process serves to deal with the property of the deceased. First, the court works to prove that the will (if any) is valid. Florida law states that anyone who possesses a will must file that will within 10 days after the decedent passes away. Moreover, the will needs to be filed with the circuit court within the allotted time frame. After checking the validity of the will, the probate procedure continues by following specific steps.
How Does Probate Work?
Once the will is verified, the court follows these steps:
1. Appraisal and inspection of property
2. Valuation of property
3. Payment of taxes and debts
4. Distribution of remaining property, as per the will
In the event that there isn’t a will, intestacy law in Florida decides where and how the remaining property gets divided. Probate is necessary because it can ensure that the inheritance and assets of the heirs are properly managed and distributed while meeting the requirements of the deceased’s creditors.
Probate in Florida is often rather complex, as the law here allows for two different kinds of wills:
1. Formal administration
2. Summary administration
Moreover, probate administration relates to the following estates:
1. All assets belonging to the deceased in their sole name at the time of death
2. Any property jointly owned by the deceased, but there is no provision for automatic inheritance at the time of death
These estates include various assets, such as:
1. Investment account or bank in the deceased’s personal name
2. The deceased’s annuity contract, life insurance policy, or retirement account
3. Real property registered in the deceased’s personal name or in the deceased’s name along with another person as the main tenant. Family property is the only exception
In special cases when there isn’t a will, an out-of-court supervision and management procedure called “Disposition of Personal Property with Administration” can be used.
The Role of Probate Lawyers
If a person dies, their property must be distributed in accordance with state law and the instructions in their living will. If all of the deceased’s property has been transferred to the trust, it can be avoided. The trust can ensure the smooth transfer of out-of-court and judicial property. Probate lawyers participate in different ways depending on the case. In this case of inheritance, participation depends on the value of the deceased’s property and whether they had a will at the time of his death.
In the absence of a will, the beneficiaries file a lawsuit and file a lawsuit about what they believe is attributable to them. In the case of a will, there may be problems with the validity of the will, which may also lead to potential legal disputes.
With a Will
If a will is present when someone dies, the services of a probate attorney can be secured to advise the parties, like the administrator or beneficiary. The lawyer advises on a variety of legal matters. As an example, the lawyer can examine the will to make sure it was not written or signed under duress (or against the person’s best interests).
For example, seniors with dementia might be susceptible to unwanted influence from people who are looking to get a share in the estate. Wills are sometimes challenged for a variety of reasons. However, most wills will make it through probate unchallenged.
Without a Will
If you were to die without writing and signing your will, it’s called “intestate.” In this case, your estate will be dispersed as per the intestate laws according to wherever the property is, irrespective of your requests. For example, if you’re married and you have a surviving spouse, they will get all your property under the intestate laws of many states.
However, the intestate laws vary greatly from each state. In such cases, a probate lawyer’s services can be secured to help the administrator (similar to the executor), and the properties will be dispersed according to the state’s law. A probate attorney may assist with various tasks but is subject to state intestate laws, even if they go against the wishes of the deceased or the needs of family members.
Relatives who want to become administrators of the estate must first obtain a so-called “renunciation” from other relatives of the deceased. Abandonment is a statement that gives up the right to manage the property. A probate lawyer can help ensure these statements and submit them to the probate court. They can also aid the administrator in the probate procedures.
Contact Crary Buchanan Attorneys at Law Today
Crary Buchanan is a general practice law firm dedicated to providing expert legal services in the state of Florida. Our lawyers have significant legal expertise in virtually every major area of law, and most of our associates are Board Certified by the Florida Bar in their respective areas of proficiency. This breadth of legal experience, coupled with our years of service and dedication in our community, allows Crary Buchanan attorneys to provide comprehensive representation. We are your trusted and experienced probate lawyers in Stuart. If you require our services in Stuart or the surrounding areas and need qualified representation, you can count on the highly accomplished team at Crary Buchanan to provide the legal counsel you deserve.
The information in this blog post is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. You should not make a decision whether or not to contact an attorney based upon the information in this blog post. No attorney-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied. If you require legal advice, please consult with an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.