Dealing with the death of a loved one is one of the worse situations anyone can experience. However, the case may be even worse when the family has to deal with a complicated probate process, especially when there is no valid will or no will at all.
Besides, probate involves an overwhelming number of documents and can take a long time to resolve. Under Florida law, it is not mandatory to hire an expert attorney for probate.
Nonetheless, this article will show why not hiring an attorney may not be the ideal approach.
Why Do I Need to Hire an Attorney for Probate in Florida? – An Overview
Nationwide, each state has its own legislation regarding the distribution of assets upon someone’s passing and the procedures for situations when there is no will in place.
Chapter 731 and 732 of Florida Statutes provide a detailed set of laws regarding probate, including elective shares, intestate succession, exempt property, and other fundamental aspects.
Essentially, the purpose of probate is to ensure that all decedent’s estate is legally transferred to the rightful heirs and pay all outstanding debts in the decedent’s name.
After a family submits a last will to a probate court in Florida, the judge will review the decedent’s estate in detail, appointing a personal representative to take care of the distribution and allowing creditors to come forward to collect the debt(s).
Once all outstanding debt(s) are settled, the probate judge will distribute the remaining assets to the heirs and beneficiaries.
Florida Probate Attorney – Each Case is Different
Each family has different situations, problems, and goals. Consequently, probate may vary a lot depending on the decedent’s circumstances, such as:
- The decedent’s total net worth
- The decedent’s estate planning
- The choice of the personal representative
- The existence of family disputes
- The inexistence of the last will (intestacy)
Florida Probate Attorney – Experienced Professional Approach
Florida laws do not obligate anyone to hire a probate attorney upon the passing of a loved one. However, trying to conduct a probate process without a professional approach is a time-consuming and expensive process.
Unfortunately, several avoidable pitfalls affect Florida residents during probate. For example, many individuals (even personal representatives) involved in a probate process could not answer simple questions such as:
- What is ancillary probate?
- How to avoid ancillary probate?
- What differs between formal and summary administration?
- What are the differences between probate assets and non-probate assets?
As it is plain to see, probate can be overwhelming when you do not have proper knowledge of the matter. Plus, acquiring knowledge is not as simple as using a search engine and researching as much information as possible on the internet.
Dealing with probate requires experience and deep knowledge of the matter, which only a well-versed probate attorney in Florida can deliver.
Florida Probate Attorney – Optimized Results
When someone hires a probate attorney, the person wants solid results. This way, an expert Florida probate attorney can help by saving time and money throughout the process by:
- Organizing and handling all the paperwork
- Guiding the individuals involved throughout the process
- Solving minor issues and mediating conflicts without going to court
- Working with the personal representative to ensure full legal compliance
- Developing strategies to protect as many assets as possible
- Explaining probate assets and non-probate assets