The personal representative named in your Last Will and Testament, or an interested person that receives the consent of all beneficiaries, will administer your estate during probate and eventually distribute your assets to the intended beneficiaries. While that sounds simple on paper, it can be quite complex. For instance, your personal representative might have trouble tracking down some of your assets, and creditors could make false claims against your estate. It is even possible that someone will contest your Last Will and Testament, causing the process to grind to a halt while the judge settles the matter.
A Miami probate lawyer can help you get your affairs in order ahead of time to minimize the impact of the legal process. Additionally, your attorney helps the personal representative administer the estate. First, reach out for a consultation with a lawyer. Then, our firm can provide assistance based on your needs.
A Miami probate lawyer can help you administer the estate during the entire process. This includes helping with:
Florida has three types of probate: formal administration, summary administration, and ancillary probate administration. Most estates qualify for formal administration, which is the most complex of the three. In this case, the personal representative must complete a series of steps, starting with filing a petition to start probate. The representative will also need to gather and inventory the assets, notify the creditors, and pay all debts before distributing property and closing the estate. Due to the challenges, many people hire a Miami probate lawyer for assistance.
While less common, an estate can qualify for summary administration if the estate’s non-exempt assets total less than $75,000. A personal representative is not needed to go through summary administration. Additionally, the estate can skip many of the steps of probate.
Finally, ancillary probate administration is used when the deceased was a resident of another state but owned property in Florida. The estate will go through standard probate in the deceased’s home state and ancillary probate administration in Florida.
Even though probate is complicated, personal representatives normally do not have to fend off legal challenges. However, challenges do occur from time to time, adding another obstacle to the process.
For example, an “interested person” can dispute the Last Will and Testament on grounds such as duress or undue influence. If successful, the challenger might receive a portion of the estate.
Additionally, creditors can file claims against the estate. When this happens, the beneficiaries can ask to receive proof of the debt. If the creditor provides proof, the judge can then decide if it is valid or not.
Fortunately, you do not have to stand up to legal challenges on your own. Instead, you can reach out to our Miami probate lawyer for legal guidance.
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Not all assets have to go through probate before the beneficiaries receive them. For instance, jointly held property and assets with beneficiary designations can skip probate. This includes retirement accounts and life insurance payouts. Additionally, property held in a properly funded trust is not subject to probate. Unfortunately, some people fail to fund their trusts, meaning the property will still go through probate. If you would like to set up your estate plan to minimize the impact of probate, consult with a Miami probate lawyer. Your attorney can go over your options, including a properly structured trust to bypass probate.
Various factors determine the length of probate, including the type of administration and possible legal challenges. However, summary administration generally takes one to two months to complete. On the other hand, formal administration usually lasts at least six months, although it can take over a year in some cases. Consult with a Miami probate lawyer if you are worried about legal hurdles slowing down the process. Your attorney can provide assistance to expedite the tasks and mount a legal defense against challenges if necessary.
The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship.