Why do you need a local probate attorney in West Palm Beach? A probate attorney can handle any number of issues. According to enlightenme.com at, https://enlightenme.com/probate-lawyer/, “A probate lawyer is a lawyer who specializes in probate law, which concerns the dozens of issues that can arise from a person’s death and transferring assets. Probate is the legal process of validating the deceased’s will, taking inventory of the assets and paying the applicable taxes and creditors. Once that is completed then the remaining assets are distributed to the heirs and beneficiaries named in the will. The process can take anywhere from a few months to a few year, depending on the complexity of the will. You may need a local probate attorney if you are the executor of a deceased person’s will, want to challenge the executor of a loved one’s estate, or are a beneficiary to an estate.
- Probate laws vary by state. It may be in your best interest to work with a local probate attorney. Have you ever traveled to a new city? Did you ask some of the locals for good restaurant or sightseeing recommendations? If you did, it’s probably because you wanted someone that had firsthand experience and knowledge of the city you were visiting. You could think of hiring a probate attorney in similar terms. Probate laws vary from state to state and county courts can have different rules and procedures. So when you are thinking about hiring a probate attorney, think local. A knowledgeable, local attorney will be familiar with your state’s specific laws and court procedures. For instance, legalmatch.com gives a breakdown of how to avoid full probate and how this varies from state to state at: http://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/how-probate-works-a-state-comparison.html. This site gives a breakdown of what the requirements are for an estate to be able to bypass full probate. In West Palm Beach Florida, full probate may be avoided when, “Estate’s property exempt from creditor’s claims (skipping probate option); OR Entire estate minus property exempted from claims of creditors equals to $75,000 or less; OR Decedent had been dead for more than 2 years.” That only applies to Florida though. If you are looking at your probate options in the state of Hawaii you may be able to avoid full probate if the estate value is $100,000. Residents of Kansas may be able to avoid full probate if the estate value is $20,000. These are all big differences. For West Palm Beach residents the Florida Senate has the statutes that address probate code on their website at: http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2011/Chapter733. This site gives a breakdown of the parts of the Probate code: Administration of Estates. The table of contents is broken down into smaller sections for easier accessibility. For instance the General Provisions page is then broken down into small subsections such as, “Venue of Probate Proceedings, Effect of Probate, Suspension of Statutes of Limitation in Favor of the Personal Representative, and Determination of Beneficiaries”. The information given is extensive and the statutes can make for challenging reading. While this information is readily available to you, be sure to consult with a local West Palm Beach attorney that can help you interpret the probate laws and apply them to your specific set of circumstances. Your strategy will need to be tailored to your situation. If you and executor needing guidance on how to fulfill your duties your game plan will be quite different than if you are a beneficiary contesting the validity of a will.
- While probate laws are generally state specific it also helps to work with an attorney who knows the ins and outs of your local probate court. West Palm Beach residents can access their local court information at the Clerk & Comptroller Palm Beach County website: http://www.mypalmbeachclerk.com/probate.aspx. This site lists the varying Probate case types explaining what each type is and in some instances giving helpful information regarding each type. For instance, one type of probate case is a deposited will. According to the website, “the custodian of a will must deposit the will with the clerk of the court having venue of the estate of the decedent within 10 days after receiving information that the testator is dead”. If you are responsible for someone’s will and they die, you have no more than 10 days to file that will with the local court.
- You may need to seek a local probate attorney’s assistance even if you are not the executor of a will. The aftermath of losing a loved one can be complicated and murky. If an executor is not acting in the best interests of the estate or is not fulfilling his or her duties as an executor you can file to have the executor removed. You may need to consult a local attorney to see what options are available to you. Removing an executor can be challenging but is not unheard of. You may also seek legal advice if you wish to contest a will. The Florida Senate lays out the burden of proof in this instance on their website listed above. It states that per section 733.107, the burden of proof is with the person that is contesting the will. If you believe you have sufficient grounds to revoke or contest a will, discuss with your attorney all your options and weigh the evidence you have against the time and expense that could be incurred.
- If you are the executor of a will or trust, talk to a local attorney to help guide you through the process. It is a heavy responsibility to be the executor of someone’s will. It is on your shoulders to see to it that the will or trust that is left behind is handled correctly. As the executor of a will or trust you have certain legal obligations that must be met and some of those obligations will have specific time sensitive deadlines.
Probate can be a complicated, lengthy, and expensive process. Knowing the rules for your city and state can save you time and money. Regardless of your reason behind needing a probate attorney, search out local, skilled professionals that can give sound advice and help you along the way.