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When Should a Beneficiary Hire an Attorney?

Posted on in Estate Planning

Fort Lauderdale estate administration lawyerNo one likes going through a probate court in order to get their inheritance. If you have recently lost a loved one who named you as a beneficiary in their will, however, you probably do not have a choice. Probate can be a long and complicated process. It may take a lot of work in order to do everything the right way and in accordance with Florida law.

The particular difficulties and challenges you may face trying to claim what is yours will depend on a number of factors, including how legally sound the will is and how complicated its terms are. In very simple cases involving small estates, you may be able to avoid full probate and use a streamlined process that is a little more DIY-friendly. However, beneficiaries in larger or more complex estates may ultimately need assistance from a qualified probate attorney. 

Deciding Whether to Work With a Probate Lawyer

If you anticipate going through full probate, it is highly advisable to bring in a lawyer from the start. Full probate is a multi-step process that can take years and become quite costly. A mistake in the probate process could set you back quite a bit as well. You may want to consider hiring a probate lawyer if you are dealing with circumstances like: 

  • High-value estate - If you are a beneficiary in a will left by someone who was very wealthy, there is too much at stake to not have a lawyer representing you. Large estates involving multiple real estate properties, large sums of money, or valuable personal property may be very tricky to manage in probate. A complete accounting of all estate property must be taken - this is one of the first steps. It is also more likely that you will have to deal with potential challengers. 
  • Questioned documents - If there is any room for doubt about the legitimacy of the will in question, you may need an attorney to fend off a potential contest. 
  • Remaining debt - One of the trickiest (and least enjoyable) parts of probate is the step where you must contact all the testator's creditors and settle any outstanding debts. If you do not know much about the decedent’s finances, you may need a lawyer during this step. An attorney can make sure that you are not taken advantage of, but also will not have a surprise claimant pop up later. 
  • Complex assets - If your deceased loved one had an ownership interest in a business, stock holdings, or other complicated types of property, it may take a lawyer to sort through everything. 
  • Location - If you live far away from the decedent, like in another state or country, you may want a local attorney to represent you. 

Probate can be very difficult for a layperson to navigate. It is much safer to rely on an experienced lawyer. 

Contact a Broward County Probate Lawyer

Law Office of Miller & Miller, P.A. is skilled at navigating any probate court proceeding. No matter how complex or high-value the estate in question may be, our team of experienced Wilton Manors probate attorneys can get you through the proceedings. Call 954-981-9301 for a free consultation. 

 

Source:

https://help.flcourts.org/Other-Resources/Probate

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