The Florida probate process involves the distribution of a decedent’s estate after their death. Per Florida Statutes Chapter 731, the government will administer this process and address the decedent’s outstanding taxes, amounts owed to beneficiaries, and creditors.
Often, this process can be lengthy. Certain steps have specific windows of time that must be adhered to. Other challenges, like will disputes or multiple creditors, can draw the process out further. A probate litigation lawyer serving Melbourne can help expedite the probate process and protect you and your family’s interests in the case of a will dispute or other similar challenges.
What Are the Steps of the Probate Process?
While there are some exceptions, the probate process applies to the distribution of most estates. This process is used regardless of the presence of a will. If the executor or personal representative is not named in the will, the court will appoint one.
These are the typical steps of the probate process in Melbourne:
- The family or responsible party of the decedent files the Petition of Administration. Within 30 days of receiving the Petition of Administration, the court will provide Letters of Administration to the appointed personal representative.
- The personal representative will take notes of outstanding debts and provide a Notice to Creditors to any creditors involved in the probate.
- Once the creditors receive what they owe, the personal representative will allocate the remnants of the estate to the beneficiaries, whose portion of the estate is outlined in either the will (when applicable) or Florida state law.
- The probate process is then finalized by the Petition for Discharge.
Who Is the Personal Representative?
Generally, the role of the executor or personal representative is to oversee the distribution of the assets held in an estate. The term personal representative is typically used in Florida, although either executor or personal representative is used interchangeably nationwide.
They’ll contact creditors, file taxes, and settle outstanding business affairs associated with the estate. This position can be held by an individual, trust company, or bank.
To consult with an experienced lawyer serving Melbourne, call 855-686-6752
What Is Probate Litigation?
Probate litigation refers to legal action associated with handling a decedent’s estate. This could include legal representation in the case of disagreements involving probate estate distribution or legal assistance provided to personal representatives or family members. In the case of our team at Bogin, Munns & Munns, it could also refer to numerous other support services we can provide to you and your family.
There are a few situations that could involve probate litigation. The first involves challenges to the disbursement of the decedent’s estate.
Challenges to the Probate Process
There are a few common roadblocks that can draw out the probate process and involve probate litigation:
- The language of the decedent’s will gets called into question.
- Debtors seek reimbursement, and said reimbursement gets challenged.
- The beneficiaries cannot agree on the amount they should each receive from the estate.
The Decedent Has Not Left a Will
In some cases, the decedent passes without writing up a will. This situation can result in a few common scenarios that could involve probate litigation:
- The estate is passed to the decedent’s living spouse.
- The estate is passed to the decedent’s living ancestors.
- The estate is passed to the decedent’s living parents or siblings.
While Florida state law typically determines who will receive what percentage of the estate if there is no will, disagreements can still arise. An attorney from Bogin, Munns & Munns can help you understand the intricacies of this process.
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How Can a Melbourne Probate Litigation Lawyer Help Me?
A Melbourne probate litigation lawyer from Bogin, Munns & Munns can provide you with a few key services:
- Legal representation in the case of a will dispute
- Clerical duties, like gathering and filing necessary documents associated with the probate process
- Analysis of the decedent’s life insurance policies
- Support in the distribution of the decedent’s estate to beneficiaries
- Legal advice in determining the amount of state taxes owed
- Offer estate planning services if you are hoping to avoid the probate process
These services are designed to help alleviate the stresses associated with the probate process and lessen the chances of disagreements between you and your family.
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Can I Avoid the Probate Process Altogether?
If you are engaged in estate planning and hoping to avoid the probate process after your passing, our team can help. There are a few methods you can use so that your estate transfers smoothly to your family without using the probate process.
Usage of a Revocable Living Trust
A revocable living trust is a means of avoiding probate that employs the removal of your assets from your ownership to your passing. These assets are then placed in a trust headed by a trustee. The trustee can execute your explicit intentions and help your beneficiaries receive their portions of your estate without using the probate process.
At Bogin, Munns & Munns, we can help you keep your documentation updated to ensure your revocable living trust is effective. We can also help you understand other estate planning tools, like irrevocable trusts.
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Why Choose Bogin, Munns & Munns?
We have been in business at Bogin, Munns & Munns for over 40 years. Our team works on a wide range of cases and in a litany of fields, from personal injury to estate planning.
Our team has effectively represented our clients in countless probation litigation cases, as evidenced by our testimonials:
- “Working with Ms. Barski has been an absolute blessing! After speaking with a few other attorneys I was so glad I went with her to handle my father’s estate. She was always willing to help when I had a multitude of questions. She immediately answered all of my emails, took time out of her busy schedule to call, and she gave me such great legal counsel to help me better understand the probate process.” – Aleah
Our testimonials demonstrate our commitment to doing the legwork for you. We’ll help take the weight off your shoulders and make it easier for you to navigate the probate litigation process.
Contact Bogin, Munns & Munns, Today
Our team is ready to hear from you. We can answer a wide range of questions about your probate litigation case. Call us to be put in touch with our team serving Melbourne today.
Whether you’re seeking assistance during probate or help building your estate plan, we can provide you with legal expertise.