If you lost a loved one, the emotional effects of your loss can be exacerbated by difficulties in settling a will or estate.
But you do not have to face this difficult time alone. If you are in need of legal help, a Clermont probate litigation lawyer is available to discuss your situation.
What is probate?
Probate refers to the process of settling a will, estate, or other matters related to the death of a loved one. Sometimes a living will or trust exists, making the process easier. But when there is no clear plan in place and a significant amount of assets are at stake, disputes between potential heirs can arise.
In such cases it could be helpful for a probate litigation lawyer to help you understand and navigate through the complexities of these legal matters.
Who is Responsible for Settling an Estate?
The individual responsible for settling an estate is known as the “executor.” Executors can be close friends, family members, or legal representatives who had been designated by the deceased loved one in their will.
The duty of an executor is to execute a will to the wishes of the deceased. If a will or other legal document is not available and no executor was previously named, the next of kin or a close loved one can file a request to assume such responsibilities. But even after a court-appointed executor has been named, problems and disputes can still arise.
If you were named as the executor for an estate, you are facing a very big responsibility. In some cases, executors hire probate litigation lawyers to help ensure that the process goes smoothly. This may not alleviate all the emotional hardships you may be facing, but there is a degree of comfort knowing that you are legally following your loved one’s directives and wishes.
What is Probate Court and When is it Necessary?
Probate court is a court specifically designated to settle matters of an estate. A case could reach probate court if there are disputes or complications, if the value of an estate exceeds a certain amount based on state law, or for a variety of other reasons. If your loved one’s estate reaches probate court, having a lawyer to help with the process will ensure that all legal matters are handled and your family can focus on healing from the loss of your loved one.
Even if your loved one did not possess a particularly large number of assets at the time of their death, disputes can still arise. If there is any owed debt, for example, a creditor could try to acquire anything of value to settle outstanding debts or owed payments. Probate court could be necessary to move this process along and be sure creditors are not over collecting.
Assets That Could be Included in an Estate
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reported that in 2019, estate taxes accounted for over $13 billion of revenue. It is clear that a tremendous number of assets can change hands after the passing of a loved one. Examples of assets that could be transferred during probate include:
- Personal belongings of value, such as collectibles and artwork
- Real estate
- Family heirlooms
When an individual passes away, it is important to honor their legacy by ensuring their assets are distributed according to their wishes. Unfortunately, with assets at stake disputes can arise not only among family members, but also with anyone who believes they have a right to claim a portion of those assets.
To consult with an experienced lawyer serving Clermont, call 855-686-6752
Examples of Disputes During Probate
Disputes during probate occur between family members or those close to the person who passed. Examples of disputes that could occur include:
- Disagreements over the interpretation of gray language in a will
- Disagreements between an executor and other parties who are set to receive assets from a will or trust
- Missing or potentially stolen items of value
- A will or trust that has been altered or information that was intentionally hidden from involved parties
- A challenge to the validity of a will or other legal document necessary for probate
If you are caught up in a probate dispute, you have the option to seek legal consultation. A probate litigation lawyer in the Clermont area is available to discuss your case and help you determine how best to move forward.
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Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer?
While you can choose to handle probate on your own, having a probate lawyer to help you along the way will ensure that all your legal options are considered and handled properly. Probate lawyers primarily deal with the administration of an estate, will, or trust following the death of a loved one.
Speaking with a lawyer can help bring clarity to your situation, which could be particularly helpful if you are unfamiliar with the probate process or if this is your first time involved with estate settlement.
The Many Benefits of Legal Representation
Some of the benefits of legal representation include:
- Assistance with legal paperwork so that you have more time to focus on your personal life during this time
- Help settling any probate disputes in a fair and legal manner
- Protecting the assets of your loved one and ensure they are allocated in accordance with the law
- Having your questions answered during each step of the probate process
- Help moving your case through the legal system in an efficient manner
- Offering general support during a particularly challenging time in your life
- Ensuring that you recover any assets that you are legally entitled to, based on the will of your loved one
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Losing someone close to you is difficult enough, but our team at Bogun, Munns & Munns can help you with any probate litigation so you can focus on your family and future. Call today to discuss your case with a member of our team..