Distributing assets after the loss of a loved one is always a challenge. If a will has been left by a departed loved one, it can make the process much easier to understand and navigate. Our Kissimmee probate litigation lawyer at Bogin, Munns & Munns can help you create the suite of documents—wills, trusts, and complete estate plans—that let your family avoid many of the complexities of probate court.
If you are challenging a will, we can help with that, too. It can be difficult to do so on your own, and any action you pursue in probate court in Florida may require you to obtain legal assistance and support. Our estate planning team can also help you prove a will is invalid and why. We can present your reason to the probate court and ensure it complies with state law.
Know What Makes a Will Contestable in Kissimmee
In truth, anyone can challenge a will in Florida. Your right to do so, though, depends on having legal standing that supports your allegation and dispute. In Kissimmee, a will cannot be challenged while its writer is still living, according to Florida Statutes § 732.518.
You could have legal standing to contest the will of a deceased loved one if one of the following circumstances exists:
- The will was written or signed while the writer was being pressured to do so
- The will was signed while the writer was under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- The will was presented as something other than a will and signed under that misinformation
- The will was written and signed when the writer was not of sound mind
You may know one of these conditions exists, but you must prove it to the probate court fact finder. We can help with this process by explaining what information and evidence will substantiate your claims. We will also help you compile said evidence and present it in court.
To consult with an experienced probate litigation lawyer serving Kissimmee, call 855-780-9986
Understand the Possible Outcomes of Contesting a Will
When you contest a will in court, you hope your point of view will be understood and accepted. If the will is successfully contested and is invalidated:
- All or part of the document will be thrown out
- An earlier will may be adopted in whole or in part
- The court will decide how to distribute the will’s assets
If the will is not invalidated, the contested will stand, and the assets will be distributed as described in the document. Again, no one can prevent you from contesting a will at any point. Even if a will contains a caveat that threatens withdrawal of any inheritance by the person contesting the will, Florida Statutes § 732.517 deems clauses like these unenforceable.
Kissimmee Probate Litigation Lawyer Near Me 855-780-9986
Kissimmee Probate Court Uses a Formula to Distribute Assets
The advantage of making a legally binding will is that you get to decide where your assets and property go. When you pass away intestate (without a will) or if a will is disputed, the probate court uses a prescribed formula to distribute assets.
Florida Statutes § 732 distributes assets as follows:
- The estate in its entirety will go to the deceased person’s spouse if there are no other descendants
- The estate in its entirety will go to the deceased party’s children if there is no spouse
- Half of the estate will go to the spouse, and half will be divided among the children if the deceased person was married and shared children with their spouse
Some circumstances will allow the parents and other relatives of the deceased person to inherit the estate. These distinctions are complicated, and you might find them challenging to sort out on your own. Our estate planning lawyers can help you define your familial relationship with the deceased person.
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Probate Litigation in Kissimmee Can Stall the Distribution of Assets
The probate court takes a formulaic approach to distribute the assets of a contested will or of a person who passes away without a will. The timeline is not rigid and can vary from estate to estate based on:
- Whether or not assets need to be liquidated
- Whether part or all of the will is contested
- Any actions taken by the decedent’s creditors
- The estate’s state and federal tax liabilities
The minimum time even a simple estate could be in probate is for as many as three to six months. Depending on the complications of more complex estates, circumstances would tend to lengthen the administration process. With extensions, the probate process could take up to a year or longer.
You do not have to cope with this lengthy process on your own. Our Bogin, Munns & Munns probate litigation lawyer can help from start to finish.
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Probate Court Is Not Just for Contested Wills
If a will is found to be in good legal order, it still must pass through the probate court. Although it does not have to be litigated, administration of an uncontested will includes the following steps:
- The will in question must be filed
- The will’s named beneficiaries are notified
- The probate court issues administration letters
- The decedent’s creditors are notified
- The decedent’s assets are cataloged
- Any taxes are paid out of the estate
- The assets are distributed to beneficiaries
- The will is formally discharged
If you are the executor or representative of a will or estate, our estate planning lawyers can help you complete your duties. Carrying them out can be difficult on your own. With responsive legal support, we can help you ensure the decedent’s final wishes are met, and their assets are distributed accordingly.
Review Your Case with Our Estate Planning Team Today
Estate planning is for everyone over the age of 18, no matter how large or small your accumulated assets. If you need guidance and direction to draft your estate plan or need help challenging a will or estate plan in Kissimmee, our probate litigation lawyer is ready to assist you.
Contact one of our Bogin, Munns & Munns estate planning teams by calling (407) 870-1919 today.
Call or text 855-780-9986 or submit our Consultation Request form today