The death of a family member or close friend raises many vital legal issues. Among them is whether the decedent died with a valid last will and testament, whether a court should apply the intestacy rules, and how a personal representative has handled the affairs of the estate. The legal process for answering these questions is known as probate.

It is essential to understand how probate works and how it could affect your right to an inheritance. Hiring a Pinecrest probate lawyer to handle the case is the best way to remain updated. An attorney can initiate probate, address questions concerning the admissibility of a will, if one exists, and help a personal representatives act in a way that follows state law.

What is Probate?

Probate is a legal process that is used for determining the property rights of heirs and the wishes of the deceased. A probate court has the authority to determine the authenticity of any existing will, empower a personal representative to perform their duties, and declare when probate has come to an end.

Probate can take one of two forms. Most estates must undergo formal probate administration. This will include a full inventory of a decedent’s assets, the appointment of a personal representative, and the authentication of a decedent’s will.

However, people looking to start a probate case can petition the court to use a process called summary probate administration. Florida Statute § 735.201 states that summary administration is appropriate when an estate has a value of $75,000 or less, or when a decedent has passed more than two years ago. A Pinecrest probate attorney could help people select the probate option that is appropriate for their specific situation and help them navigate the challenges that come with it.

Taking Action in the Event of a Probate Dispute

In cases where a dispute could arise, it is important to consult with a knowledgeable probate attorney who can explain the laws to you. Once you understand your chances in court, you are better able to make the right choices regarding your probate case.

Answering Vital Legal Questions Concerning Wills

One role that a Judge in a probate court can play is in the authentication of wills. State law provides guidance that a person can use when drafting a last will and testament to ensure that they will be deemed valid when it is time for them to take effect. However, any interested party can ask a court to consider whether a will has met these criteria, is the product of undue influence, or is not authentic. A Pinecrest probate lawyer can work with an individual to make arguments for or against a will’s authenticity.

Evaluating the Actions of Personal Representative

Perhaps the most important figure during the probate process is the personal representative. This is the only party that has the ability to take temporary control of estate assets, pay legitimate creditors if necessary, and distribute property to named heirs.

As a result, a personal representative has a duty under the law to act only in the best interest of the estate and take all needed steps to ensure that assets still hold value when they are transferred. A probate lawyer in Pinecrest could assist a personal representative in meeting their duties, or, if necessary, ask a probate court to reevaluate the person who was appointed to this role.

Contact a Pinecrest Probate Attorney Today

It is important that all people who stand to inherit property or who have been nominated as a personal representative protect their rights before and during the probate process.

A Pinecrest probate lawyer is ready to provide assistance every step of the way. They are prepared to answer your questions, draft necessary documents, and take all needed action in court to distribute assets without issue. Schedule a free consultation to learn how we can help you today.