Determining the value of the property can have a major impact on how the estate is taxed.
After losing someone they loved, many people will wonder whether they should hire a probate lawyer. The answer is yes, in most cases you will need a probate lawyer to deal with the estate of the deceased.
What is probate?
Probate is the legal term for the complex process of proving a will. Going through probate ensures that the deceased’s assets are distributed among the heirs in accordance with the wishes detailed in the will. If the deceased didn’t leave a valid will, the estate will be distributed among heirs according to Florida’s intestacy laws.
In most cases, you will need a skilled Clearwater probate lawyer to handle the legal part of the process. The only exceptions are when very small estates can be handled through summary administration.
Main reasons why you need a probate lawyer in Clearwater
Various problems may appear while a will is at stake and you will need a lawyer to help you:
Avoid family conflict
Disputes among heirs are quite common, especially if there is a large estate. You may find yourself embroiled in a bitter conflict with your relatives if there are several versions of the deceased’s will and everyone says theirs is the valid one. In such a case, you will definitely need an experienced Clearwater probate lawyer to represent you in court.
Also, if the provisions in the will are unclear and it is difficult to determine who should get what, you will have to go through the Probate Court to determine the true beneficiaries of the will.
If some of the beneficiaries are minors, the court will set up a guardianship, which will remain in place until the children reach adulthood.
Deal with missing heirs
If you lost track of a sibling or another beneficiary named in the will, the only solution is to hire a lawyer and go through Probate Court, which can accommodate such a situation. The same applies if a certain heir is not missing, but very much present and refusing to cooperate with the other heirs.
Deal with debt claims
When someone passes, the heirs may have to deal with various debt claims. As a rule, you shouldn’t pay any claim until it’s been proven valid.
When you go to Probate Court and a personal representative for the estate is named, that person must give notice to all known creditors. If a debt claim is under question, the court will decide whether it is valid or a statute of limitations may apply.
Handle tax problems
If there are any disputes over the value of the deceased’s estate, you’d better get a good Florida probate lawyer and fast. Determining the value of the property can have a major impact on how the estate is taxed. While there is no estate tax in Florida, you may still have to pay federal taxes. An experienced lawyer can help with such problems.
How long does probate take in Florida?
This will depend on the value of the estate and the conflicts that may appear among heirs. For smaller estates, probate can be resolved within weeks. For a large estate with feuding heirs, the whole process may take years.
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