In this article, you can discover:
- The causes and risk of probate litigation.
- What is probate? What types of probate are there?
- The role of Summary Proceedings.
Many people think that probate is always a contentious process, but this is often not the case. In fact, most probates go smoothly without any disagreements. However, there can be disputes among family members or others who feel entitled to a specific share of the estate.
When someone dies, their assets are typically distributed through their will (if one was executed). In most cases, these distributions are uncontested, meaning that the heirs agree with the terms and there is no objection. As a result, going through the process is simply a matter of following the necessary steps. However, people also pass away “intestate.” This means there was never a will written or a valid will to follow. In these cases, there are statutes in place that assign the deceased’s assets to the decedent’s descendants or antecedents if no decedents exist.
Probate is a legal proceeding that takes place in court. However, in most cases, there is no litigation per se involved. It is simply a matter of filling out forms and following procedures. There may be some conflict in cases where money or possessions are disputed, but, usually, it is a fairly straightforward process.
If you’re facing issues with your inheritance, know that they can always be resolved without resorting to litigation. You may not be able to avoid probate altogether, but you can make the process much smoother by discussing the matter with your family members with decedent before the decedent’s passing. This way, everyone can come to a resolution without any contention.
If you want to go through probate quickly and without any issues, it’s best to have estate matters discussed and resolved prior to the probate process. This type of action allows for probate to be faster and cleaner, and it will have the estate distributed without any problems. Otherwise, if someone files an objection, it can turn into a fight that will have to be resolved in court. If you can avoid this litigation process, it would be ideal.
In short, you can go through probate, whether it is contested (i.e. there is disagreement over the will) or uncontested (meaning everyone agrees).
Are Small Estates Handled Differently In The Florida Probate Process?
There is a process known as Summary Proceeding which is typically used for estates worth $75,000 or less; however, bigger estates can also file summary proceedings as long as they wait two years after the deceased has passed to file. This process is designed to be quicker than the alternative, as the courts understand that nobody wants to go through a lengthy ordeal.
Just like with non-summary proceedings, in any case, it’s much easier to file for probate when there is no disagreement about who gets what. In some cases, as long as there are no disputes, even people with no legal training can file the necessary paperwork and follow the procedures relatively easily in a summary proceeding. The clerk will even help them fill out the necessary forms.
There are two types of probate: summary proceedings with a homestead and summary proceedings without a homestead (for Florida law, homestead is the treatment of one’s home as the person’s principal residence). If you have an estate under $75,000, you may be able to get it resolved without legal assistance. However, if you need help filling out forms or have questions about the process, you can contact your local Probate Court for assistance.
Do We Need A Florida Probate Attorney Or Can We Handle This On Our Own?
If a loved one as recently passed and you are unsure how to handle your loved ones affairs, it’s possible to handle the entire process yourself. This includes filling out the necessary paperwork and filing the required procedures. While it’s technically doable, you might want to at least consult with an attorney to ensure everything is done correctly and to avoid any potential issues.
With the guidance of a skilled attorney for Probate Law, you can have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that we’ll make it look easy.
For more information on Probate Law in Florida, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (786) 788-8756 today.