Dealing with the aftermath of a person’s death can be stressful for anyone in Leesburg. Besides grieving their loss, surviving loved ones would also have to deal with any affairs the deceased left behind, in order to distribute their assets according to their will.
The civil court presides over how the deceased’s estate is allocated in such situations, though you must file for probate litigation first. Let’s look more closely into how you could benefit from a Leesburg probate litigation lawyer’s help in contesting wills and other probate matters.
Which Assets Go Through Probate in Leesburg?
Before you file a probate case, it helps to know what assets must go through probate. In general, an asset must undergo probate if the decedent solely owned it and does not have anyone who can automatically assume ownership. Common examples of such assets include:
- Savings or investment accounts where the deceased is the only named owner
- Life insurance policies that do not have any named beneficiaries
- Personal property, such as real estate or cars
Any jointly owned assets will not likely require probate litigation, as ownership will typically go to the surviving person. However, if the co-owner also dies, then the court will have to step in and preside over the probate.
To consult with an experienced probate litigation lawyer serving Leesburg, call 855-780-9986
Issues in Leesburg Probate Litigations
Different laws can apply to a probate case depending on the issue you need to have resolved. However, our probate litigation lawyer knows about these statutes and can check which ones are relevant to the matter at hand in your Leesburg case.
Other disputes that can require probate litigation in Leesburg include:
Contesting the Will’s Validity
If a beneficiary suspects that the decedent’s will is not valid, they can file a case to contest it in probate court. For example, under Florida Statutes § 732.502, a will must comply with requirements such as:
- The testator’s signature or any mark of acknowledgment
- Must have the signatures of at least two witnesses
- The will must be a written document, not oral instructions. It can be handwritten, but it should still have the witnesses’ signatures.
- The testator should be of sound mind and over 18 years old. However, emancipated minors may create a will.
- The will cannot prohibit anyone from contesting the will after the decedent’s passing.
A Leesburg probate litigation lawyer at our firm can review the will to check if it does comply with all the requirements. If they find proof that the will did not, you can file a case to have the probate revoked. The court can review the matter to determine whether to invalidate the will or not.
Undue Influence During a Will’s Construction
You may also file for probate litigation if you suspect that the decedent was influenced or coerced into changing the will to be overtly beneficial to a certain party.
For instance, suppose that a relative, friend, or even the caretaker of an elderly testator threatens them into changing the will so that they receive most of the estate instead of the decedent’s immediate surviving family. In such a scenario, the Leesburg probate litigation attorney can help investigate if foul play is afoot.
Breach of Fiduciary Duty
In probate litigation, a personal representative or executor is appointed by the decedent to carry out the instructions in their will, such as how to distribute the assets. Florida’s probate code stipulates the personal representative’s responsibilities when executing the will.
Unfortunately, the personal representative might still breach their duty. For instance, they could fail to distribute the assets appropriately. They may also keep assets to themselves or hide information in the will. If this happens, you can bring a case against this breach and recover damages owed to you. Again, the Leesburg probate litigation attorney can check exactly how the representative failed in their responsibilities.
Exercising the Right to Elective Shares
In Leesburg and the rest of Florida, surviving spouses have the right to recover around 30 percent of the decedent’s estate. It protects them from getting completely cut out of the will. However, they can take the issue to court for litigation if they did not receive any amount while the representative distributed assets.
Leesburg Probate Litigation Lawyer Near Me 855-780-9986
Where to File for Probate Litigation in Leesburg
Probate cases are typically overseen in the county where the decedent lived before dying. Since they lived here in Leesburg, Lake County, you must file for probate litigation at the Lake County Courthouse located in Tavares.
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Probate Litigation Statute of Limitations
According to Florida Statutes § 733.710, an estate’s personal representative typically has two years from the decedent’s death to file for probate litigation. They must also promptly send out notices of administration to surviving loved ones, named beneficiaries, and creditors.
If any of the parties who received these notices want to contest the will and revoke the probate, they must bring the case in three months. Since they only have a limited amount of time to file their objection, starting as soon as possible would be in their best interest. Missing your deadline would automatically bar you from contesting the probate again.
Our Leesburg probate litigation lawyer can track your case’s progress to ensure you have enough time to submit it to the probate court.
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You Can Consult with Our Probate Litigation Lawyer First
Probate litigation can be a complicated process involving numerous probate and estate laws in Leesburg. You could consider consulting with our Leesburg probate litigation lawyer first before filing anything in court. They can guide you through the steps involved in litigation and serve as your court representative if the case goes to trial.
The offices of Bogin, Munns & Munns have handled claims and cases throughout Central Florida since 1979. Our full-service law firm has decades of experience in practice areas ranging from personal injury to bankruptcy and family law. To discuss your case with the legal team, you can call any time or request a case review through our website by contacting us. You may call at any time. Our 24/7 support team can also cater to Spanish-speaking clients.