Boca Raton Probate Litigation Attorney
Probate litigation is any litigation that is related to probates, the legal documents that regulate the administration of deceased individuals’ wills and estates.
Probate is the official court process or proving a will’s validity. Probate law is the branch of law that regulates this process and probate court is the type of court that handles these cases. Issues handled in probate law can sometimes cross into elder law.
Litigation is the actual process of working out issues and coming to a solution in court. For some families, this is the best way to ensure that all beneficiaries of a will get the inheritance their loved one wanted them to have. Contact our Boca Raton probate litigation attorneys for more information.
Boca Raton Probate Litigation Cases
A will’s beneficiaries can bring it to probate court if they have any disputes about its contents or the way it’s being administered. This is known as “contesting a will.” Contesting a will is the only reason a will can end up in probate court – this entire branch of legal practice is devoted to resolving such disputes. Some examples of reasons why a case could go to probate court include:
- Any claim of undue or inappropriate influence over the will;
- Undisclosed details about the creditors;
- Disputes between beneficiaries over guardianships and conservatorships;
- One of the will’s beneficiaries claiming and enjoying all of its benefits;
- Some beneficiaries haven’t been given a full inventory of the property included in the will;
- A beneficiary’s failure to complete his or her fiduciary duty; and
- Disputes over who can take the role of personal representative for the will. In this role, the representative is a trust or a bank appointed by the court to carry out the estate’s division and administration.
The Importance of Probate Litigation
Following a loved one’s death, dividing his or her estate can be emotionally exhausting. Clear protocol regarding the estate’s division can save a family from the turmoil of fighting, strained relationships, feelings of guilt or victimization, and imbalanced benefits from the will. Probate litigation protects heirs, their wealth, and their relationships with each other and creditors by managing the difficult parts of estate division. Probate attorneys also handle all tax and debt collection obligations of the deceased rather than making their heirs sort out these responsibilities.
Probate attorneys are here to help you get what you’re entitled to from a loved one’s will. An attorney can help you sort out the property that is exempt from probate and the remaining property’s value. Certain categories of property are exempt from probate, which means that they cannot be divided through the court process. These are jointly-held property, homestead exempt property, pay on death records, annuities, life insurance policies, and certain retirement accounts. Talk to your attorney if these are part of the estate you are working through the probate process.
Boca Raton Probate FAQs
Do I need a lawyer for Florida probate?
In the majority of cases, you will need a probate attorney. There are some exceptions, such as where the size of the estate is very small. The court clerk’s office is not set up to guide personal representation (executors) through Florida probate.
Why can’t I just record the will to change the title to my parent’s property in Florida?
Unless the Will has been probated, title insurance underwriters would not know whether a will was the valid final will of the deceased and whether there are any claims upon the property.
Do all estates in Florida have to go through complete probate?
No, small estates without real property may qualify for “disposition without administration” and some estates qualify for summary administration, a less expensive and expedited form of probate. Florida homestead and probate laws allow for some estates without much more than expensive homestead property to qualify for summary administration. Summary administration is also available if the decedent has been dead for more than two years.
After a property owner dies, can his or her power of attorney be used?
The attorney-in-fact designated by a power of attorney has no authority after the property owner dies.
Do I need to personally appear in Florida to probate an estate?
Unless there is a dispute requiring a court-date, the personal representative and the attorney for the estate normally will not need to appear in court.
Does Florida collect an estate tax?
Not for 2011 and 2012, but it may return as a portion of the federal estate tax beginning in January 2013. Stay here for updates.
Boca Raton Probate Litigation Attorneys Can Help
If you are currently planning your estate or you are working through dividing a recently deceased loved one’s will, call the experienced Boca Raton probate attorneys at Lavalle, Brown & Ronan, P.A. Our team of attorneys has built a reputation for fair, results-oriented probate litigation in the Boca Raton area. When you work with Lavalle, Brown & Ronan, P.A., your case is in good hands. Call us today at 561-395-0000 to discuss your case and begin working together to ensure an equitable division of the estate.