Probate Lawyer Melbourne, FL
Benefits of Hiring a Probate Lawyer Melbourne, FL Trusts
When you have a question about the probate process, you should speak with a Melbourne, FL probate lawyer. In order for heirs to receive assets from deceased loved ones, the assets have to go through a probate process. It’s a long and complicated process that requires executors to keep records, prepare documents, submit filings to court, serve notices to creditors and complete other duties. That’s why it may be in your best interest to work with an experienced Melbourne, FL probate lawyer, the legal professionals at Arcadier, Biggie & Wood, PLLC.
Everyone tells you to get a will or a trust if only to avoid your estate going through the probate process. Do you even know what that is and what probate entails? What Are No-Contest Clauses in Wills?
Legal proceedings that normally happen after someone passes away is called probate. This process consists of:
- Paying all the taxes and debts owed by the deceased
- Going to court to prove that the will of the deceased is valid
- Taking stock of all the deceased’s property
- Appraising the property
- Disposing of the rest of the property per the direction of the will, or if there is no will, the dictate of the state law
This is mostly accomplished by completing the required paperwork and appearances in court by a Melbourne, FL probate lawyer. The fees associated with the paperwork and court appearances come from the estate proceeds. Having a living trust is one way to avoid having to go through probate.
What Does the Probate Process Entail?
After you die, your executor (the person you had previously selected to handle your estate), will file paperwork with the probate court in your community. This person will verify that your will is indeed your will and then give the court a detailed list of your debts, property, and who is to inherit whatever is left. Creditors and relatives will then be notified officially of your passing.
The probate process can take from as little as a few months to up to a year to complete. During this time, the executor is required to locate, secure, and take care of your assets. If the deceased had a lot of debt, some of the property may have to be sold to cover these debts.
If the probate proceedings drag on, immediate family members can appeal to the court to give them short-term financial assistance from the proceeds of the estate. Most states will allow this. The court will ultimately let the executor pay the taxes and debts owed and take the rest to divide between those mentioned in your will. After this has been accomplished, the balance of the property is given to the heirs.
Who Takes Care of Probate?
Usually, it is the job of the executor to handle the responsibilities associated with probate. If there is no will or no executor named, someone is appointed by the probate court to take over the process. Most commonly, the relative or person who is inheriting most of the estate gets that position.
So Is Probate a Bad Thing?
Probate costs money and takes time. It does not benefit the people inheriting anything from the estate, as the costs take away from the total amount to be distributed. The only time you should need to use probate is if you have a very large estate and no trust or a lot of debts that may be complicated to pay.
A probate lawyer Melbourne, FL clients recommend is always a good resource for your questions and concerns about probate and whether you will ever need to use the probate court.
Benefits of Hiring a Probate Lawyer Melbourne, FL Trusts
In order for heirs to receive assets from deceased loved ones, the assets have to go through a probate process. It’s a long and complicated process that requires executors to keep records, prepare documents, submit filings to court, serve notices to creditors and complete other duties. That’s why it may be in your best interest to work with an experienced Melbourne, FL probate lawyer. The legal professionals at Arcadier, Biggie & Wood, PLLC go over some of the benefits of hiring a probate attorney.
Protect Estate Against Legal Claims
After a person dies, there’s a chance that legal claims can be made against his or her estate. From creditors to people trying to contest the will, there are several individuals who may try to take advantage of a person’s death. If you have a skilled probate lawyer in Melbourne, FL on your side, he or she may protect your loved one’s estate from these claims and ensure his or her wishes are carried out.
Assist With Court Filings
An executor of a will has many duties to fulfill, including submitting various documents to the court. This can be very time-consuming and stressful, especially after experiencing something as traumatic as losing a loved one. A Melbourne, FL probate lawyer may help an executor fill out these forms accurately and submit them in a timely manner, relieving some stress.
Speed Up the Process
A probate process can sometimes take a long time, especially if the executor does not have a lot of financial or legal knowledge. An experienced probate attorney knows the ins and outs of the probate process and may help an executor get through obstacles they might face, ultimately speeding up the process.
The probate process can be a confusing process for many people, so it helps to have someone knowledgeable nearby. A reputable probate lawyer from Melbourne, FL may be able to answer any questions a family has about the probate process. He or she may take the time to explain the process and detail and help family members feel more comfortable.
Ensure Debts Are Properly Paid
A common thing executors struggle with during the probate process is paying off the deceased’s debts. An executor may be overly cautious because he or she doesn’t want to see creditors coming after unsettled debts in the future.
When a loved one dies, it can be very difficult to go through the legal process to settle the estate. It involves mountains of paperwork and complications may arise at any time. This can cause enormous stress among family members. A skilled probate attorney may assist with many of the tasks during the probate process, relieving stress among family members.
Potential Problems With Probate
When people plan accordingly, they die with a full estate plan that helps guide their personal representative during probate. However, not everyone plans that well or experiences an unfortunate accident. When a person dies without a will, they are said to have died intestate. This can create additional issues and potential delays. By working with an experienced and skilled Melbourne, Florida lawyer, you can minimize any costly delays.
Probate without a will
Dying without a will is to die intestate. This means there is no documentation to guide the personal representative. This also means there is no personal representative named to guide the probate process, pay liabilities, and distribute assets.
Dying intestate is often referred to as the government plan. When a person dies intestate, the court will determine how to distribute their assets. For doing so, the state will take a hefty fee.
Intestate probate can leave people out
States all have intestate statutes. These statutes guide judges when dealing with intestate probate. The statutes lay out the process by which debts are paid and which people are beneficiaries to the estate.
For example, a husband and father who dies intestate will not allow the children to receive any assets as beneficiaries as everything will go to his widow. He may have wanted his children to receive some items but because he did not lay out his wishes in a will, his children will not receive any items.
Intestate probate is costly
Because the judge plays such an integral role in determining how assets are distributed, the state will take a cut of the estate. This amount can be as high as 45% of the total estate value.
This amount can quickly diminish what any heirs might receive from the estate. This fee is taken off the top. This means that the state is paid first, then any creditors, and then, if there is anything left, beneficiaries receive their share of the estate. Clearly, you want to avoid this at all costs.
You have options
You have options even when a loved one dies intestate. You may not have to probate the estate. The estate may qualify for a full or partial waiver of the fee.
There are many options available to you as you look for the most efficient, timely, and cost conscious manner to probate your loved ones estate. A probate lawyer in Melbourne, FL is able to help you and guide you. We have been helping clients just like you for many years. Our clients trust us to guide them honestly and with expertise. You can rely on our experience and can rest assured we are guiding you to a resolution that takes into account your goals.
But we can’t help you until we meet with you. When we meet, we’ll listen to you and evaluate your specific situation. We’ll then work together to get you to the most efficient and most economical outcome possible. Contact us today to meet with the Melbourne, FL probate lawyer at our firm.
Should You Hire a Probate Lawyer?
When it comes to doing your executor duties, you may not be sure how you’re going to get through doing them on your own. Especially if this is a completely new role for you, you could likely be more successful with the help of a probate attorney who can walk you through your role as an executor and show you what to do. The attorneys at The Law Office of Arcadier, Biggie & Wood have worked with many clients who are in the role of executor, especially when it comes to probate proceedings. If the estate is not large and does not contain a lot of assets, do you need a probate attorney? You may not always need a probate attorney to help you in your role of executor, but when you answer the questions listed below, it can help you determine if a probate attorney is the best option for your situation.
Are the family members listed in the estate getting along?
This is a bigger deal than it may seem. While it’s true that wills can bring out pettiness and anger in people, it can be more than this. In fact, when people believe that the deceased owed them more than they are giving them, things can get downright nasty. This can make the entire process go longer than originally anticipated because beneficiaries or people who were not listed as beneficiaries may bring the will’s authenticity into question or may question the mental state of the testator. If the family is getting along, perhaps you won’t need help from a probate attorney. However, if you believe that things will get ugly or if family members are already fighting, you may want to speak with your probate lawyer sooner rather than later.
Can the assets in question be transferred outside of probate?
This is an important question because you will need to know how well the testator planned to avoid probate after they passed away. In some cases, it may be relatively simple to pass the testator’s assets to the new owner without needing to go through probate. Common examples may be:
- Joint Tenancy Assets
- Community Property
How simple is your state’s probate process?
An executor can go through the probate process on their own even if they have never done so before. There are certain laws called the Uniform Probate Code that make the probate process relatively simple. When this is the case, it may be possible for you to do this on your own. However, not all probate is simple and you may find that you benefit from getting advice from a probate attorney or from hiring an attorney to represent you in probate court.
Are there advantages to going through probate?
Our probate lawyer represents families and individuals who must undergo the probate process or who would like to plan their estate in such a way as to enable their heirs to avoid probate. For those who have not previously been an executor for an estate, or been involved with the asset distribution process of an asset, their understanding of the probate process may be limited. Our probate lawyer provides the information that clients need so they can make informed decisions along the way. Should litigation be necessary, such as when a will is contested or needs to be defended, our probate lawyer can assist with this as well. If you are in the position of having to execute the last wishes of a decedent, our probate lawyer can represent you and guide you through the legal process. In this way you can have peace of mind that you have completed your obligation correctly.
A Benefit to Undergoing the Probate Process
Though the probate process is generally one that the majority of people wish to avoid, it does offer an advantage under certain circumstances. When you meet with our probate lawyer in Melbourne, FL, this can be explained to you in more detail should it be applicable. The primary advantage to undergoing the probate process is that it narrows the window for creditors to file claims against the estate. In fact, it can narrow their timeline from a year to as little as four months.
Is it possible to avoid going through the probate process?
For many people, avoiding the probate process is preferable. However, this is not always possible. For instance, if the decedent did not leave a will and the total value of their estate’s assets exceeds a certain dollar amount. In cases such as that, the estate must pass through the probate process for the court to decide who should inherit which assets. If you are in the process of planning your own estate, you may wish to explore the various options available that eliminate the need or requirement for the estate to pass through probate. If you are the executor of an estate, and are unsure of whether or not probate is necessary, contact our probate lawyer to inquire.
Learn more about the legal services offered by our probate lawyer in Melbourne, FL by calling us today.
Being an executor of someone’s will is a huge responsibility but it does not mean you need to do it on your own. If you are unsure of what your duties are as an executor and you need help from a trusted probate attorney from The Law Office of Arcadier, Biggie & Wood, don’t hesitate to call us and ask for help. We can make this process go much more smoothly for you.
At Arcadier, Biggie & Wood, PLLC, we understand how difficult it can be to go through the probate process after a dear loved one has died. A dedicated probate lawyer Melbourne, FL residents rely on from our team have can help make the entire ordeal of going through probate simpler for you and your family; call us today.