No one likes to think about their loved ones dying; this aversion to death often causes people to be blindsided when their loved ones pass away. Most people think probate law is similar to what they see on TV; they think they will be called into a lawyer’s office where wills are read and properties are distributed. The truth is that the real process of wrapping up a recently deceased person’s financial affairs is long and drawn out.
When Florida residents pass away while owning real estate in their name, the estate is usually taken to probate. This long process starts by proving that the person’s will is valid. Once proven, all debts and claims against the property are paid off. Finally, assets are distributed to the people who have a claim to them.
When you deal with probate estates, you are dealing with a lot of money. Beneficiaries regularly deal with hundreds of thousands of dollars in real estate and life insurance; they also deal with jewelry, furnishings, collectibles, automobiles and cash.
When dealing with court proceedings like this, it is important that beneficiaries protect themselves against dishonest actions; family members and personal representatives may see this money and try to claim it. Before you agree to split up an inheritance, always make sure to run it by a probate attorney Daytona; this helps to make sure that you aren’t being cheated.
If the deceased left a will, they usually assign a representative to take care of settling their estate. Typically, the representative is a spouse or close family member; it’s their responsibility to properly distribute everything that was in the will.
Even though the representative has a fiduciary duty to act fairly, sometime greed gets the better of them. If you don’t hire a probate lawyer, you can end up getting shorted on things that you are owed. Technically, the representative can’t engage in any self-dealing, and they aren’t supposed to use their position for personal gain.
If you think that the representative is being unfair with the estate, you have to take them to probate court. A good lawyer can help you prove that the representative is squandering or mismanaging the estate; this is extremely hard to do if you aren’t well versed in probate law. If the court rules with you, the personal representative can be removed from their position; they may also be held accountable for the harm that their actions brought to the estate.