The probate process can be a thorn in the side of people who are looking to inherit some or all of a decedent’s estate. Probate courts have the power to determine if a last will and testament is valid, oversee the distribution of property, and even apply the state’s laws concerning intestacy.
Many people will need help during probate, which is where The Florida Probate & Family Law Firm comes in. Whether you are looking to preserve your rights as an heir in a will, you believe that a will is fraudulent, or are looking for assistance when serving as the executor of an estate, a Little Gables probate lawyer may be able to provide essential support.
What is Probate and How Does it Begin?
Probate is the process where a court handles the estate of a person who has recently died. The role of the court is ensuring that a decedent’s will, if one exists, is genuine and they can empower someone to perform their job as an executor of those estates.
According to Florida Statute § 733.202, any interested party may ask the court to begin the probate process by submitting a petition to the court. This petition must include information about the decedent, the decedent’s property, and any will that appears to name heirs to assets.
A Little Gables probate attorney can assist interested parties in locating a will and preparing a petition for administration for the court to begin the probate process.
Protecting the Rights of Heirs During Probate
It is essential to understand people’s rights and duties during the probate process. For heirs, this may include having to defend the legitimacy of a will. For people who stand to lose out on property in a will, they may wish to challenge the will’s legality. A Little Gables probate attorney can help determine if these actions are legitimate and, if they are, can represent a person’s interests before the probate court. If necessary, they could also participate in estate litigation in order to resolve disputes.
An attorney could also help executors navigate their obligations under the rules of the probate court. Under Florida law, the court will issue letters of administration that empower executors. These letters allow that person to pay debts, close bank accounts, sell property, and distribute assets as necessary to fulfill their duties. In fact, the law requires that these duties be performed.
Formal and Summary Administration
Most probate cases will go through formal administration, in which the executor makes most of the decisions on how to divide the estate according to the will and Florida law. However, if the deceased has been dead for more than two years, or their estate is valued at under $75,000, then summary administration can take place, in which the court will make decisions instead of an executor.
Learn More from a Little Gables Probate Attorney Today
Probate refers to the legal steps that must occur to a person’s estate after their death. This can include the gathering of assets, the opening of bank accounts, the payment of debts, and the distribution of assets to heirs. To accomplish this, the Probate Court has broad powers to determine the authenticity of testamentary documents, empower executors to perform their tasks under the law, and apply the state’s intestacy laws, if necessary.
A Little Gables probate lawyer can help you if you have questions or concerns about this process. For heirs in a will, or those who would stand to inherit outside of a will, an attorney could help to determine the legitimacy of a will and argue that fact in litigation.
A lawyer can also provide essential support to executors who may need assistance in understanding their role and taking the necessary steps. For a free legal consultation, give us a call so we can understand your situation today.