When a person passes away, it may be necessary to have the estate go through the probate process. Probate is a procedure where a court oversees the administration of an estate. Probate may be informal, with minimal court appearances required, or formal where disputes are addressed and ruled upon by a judge. If you have questions about an estate, then contact a Florida estate litigation attorney to discuss your case. The following are 5 things you need to know about Florida estate litigation.
A Will Can Be Challenged
If the deceased person had a last will and testament, then typically the estate must be administered in accordance with its terms. Sometimes there may be issues with the validity of the will. If the will failed to meet certain legal requirements, then it may be invalidated. There may also be issues if the person had multiple wills. There are laws that govern wills and whether a court will accept it.
If a will is challenged, then it is important to understand how the law applies at LIVE ENHANCED. An attorney can provide legal representation to contest or defend a will.
An Estate Executor or Trustee Has Fiduciary Duties
The person who is appointed to manage an estate — including the personal representative, executor, administrator, and trustee — has fiduciary duties to administer the estate in accordance with the applicable directives and the law. Failure to abide by these duties could result in sanctions or removal of the person from that position.
Sometimes these duties are not always clear, so it is important to confer with a Florida estate litigation attorney who can identify and explain the applicable obligations.
Issues Related to Guardianship of Minor Children Can Be Addressed Through Probate
If the deceased person has children who are minors, then it may be necessary to appoint a guardian over the children as part of the probate case. Guardianship priority depends upon several factors and the court will consider if the deceased person nominated someone in their will. Ultimately, the court will consider the best interest of the child in choosing a guardian.
Guardianships are subject to specific laws and procedures that must be followed in order for the appointment to be valid. For this reason, representation from an attorney can be helpful.
Some Assets Must Go Through Probate
Assets that were titled in the deceased person’s name must go through probate in order to be sold or transferred. Common examples include real property (e.g., land, houses, buildings) and vehicles. Through probate, the authority is granted to execute the necessary documents to transfer this property to the appropriate person.
If assets are not properly administered through probate, then it can result in issues in the future with transfers of property. There may also be issues related to creditors that will need to be addressed as part of probate.
An Attorney Can Be Essential for a Probate Case
Probate can be complicated and it is important that everything is done in compliance with the law. Failure to properly administer an estate and address issues can result in significant issues. An attorney will help ensure that everything is done legally and that no loose ends are left behind. If there are issues that arise during probate, an attorney can help address them in court. A Florida estate litigation attorney can provide legal advice to help guide you through the process.