The death of a loved one is one of the most difficult things most people will experience. While coping with loss and grief, you may be responsible for settling their affairs and carrying out their final wishes. Our compassionate Miami probate lawyer can offer expert guidance and support during this challenging time.
Estate administration is often a complex process. Whether you’re a beneficiary or a personal representative, you deserve the peace of mind that comes from working with a trusted probate attorney.
Estate administration is the process of settling someone’s assets and finances after their death. An experienced probate attorney will ensure your loved one’s wishes are respected. Among other things, the process can include:
- Identifying and locating the deceased’s assets
- Filing proof of death
- Getting a will probated in court
- Ensuring all debts are settled
- Paying the requisite estate taxes
- Locating and notifying debtors, creditors, and beneficiaries
- Responding to claims made by creditors
- Transferring property to beneficiaries
If you recently lost a loved one and you aren’t sure how to proceed with settling their estate, reach out to your local probate attorney at the Martins Law Firm.
Probate litigation becomes necessary when there are disputes related to the deceased’s estate. These disputes often arise between the executor and a beneficiary or between beneficiaries. Sometimes, third parties such as creditors and disinherited family members may get involved. An experienced Miami probate attorney can advocate for your best interests in court.
Consequences of Not Probating a Will
If you are the executor of an estate, it’s vital that you understand your obligations under the law. You’ve been entrusted with ensuring the deceased’s wishes are carried out. Although the probate process can seem intimidating, it’s best to get started as soon as possible. Probating a will is the only way to transfer assets to beneficiaries. Without it, these assets may become a burden to the estate.
- The estate may continue to incur fees, charges, and other expenses
- The beneficiaries will not receive their inheritance
- Creditors can continue to recover the deceased’s debts from the estate
- You may be held liable for any costs incurred as a result of the delay
- You may be held criminally liable and face jail time or heavy fines
As an executor, your failure to act can impact you in several ways. Beneficiaries and creditors may file lawsuits against you, and you may also face criminal charges. You can avoid these consequences by working with a trusted Miami probate lawyer.
Contesting a Will in Florida
A will can only be contested by someone who has sufficient interest. This means you must be personally or financially affected by the terms of the document. Most often, wills are contested by beneficiaries, but they may also be challenged by those who were disinherited due to the will. If you suspect that a will doesn’t reflect the wishes of your loved one, a Miami probate lawyer can provide guidance on contesting the document.
Legal grounds for challenging a will may include:
- The will wasn’t executed according to local laws.
- The testator was unduly influenced or coerced into signing.
- The testator didn’t fully understand the contents or legal effects of the will.
- The testator did not have the mental capacity to execute the will.
- The will was forged or procured by fraud.
It’s also possible to challenge the appointment of a personal representative. This is often done when it is believed that they are not trustworthy or are otherwise unable to perform their duties. If you wish to contest a will or object to the appointment of a personal representative, you’ll need to act quickly. Objections must be made within 20 days of receiving a formal notice or within three months of being served with a Notice of Administration. If you fail to make an objection within this time, you will not be able to do so at any point in the future.
Contact a Miami Probate Attorney Sooner Rather Than Later
If you are the executor of an estate, it’s important to begin the probate process as soon as possible. Don’t delay. Schedule an appointment to get started today.
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