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How to Find a Good Florida Probate Lawyer and How to Deal With Probate Litigation
You’d be surprised, but not many people might know what the term probate means. Amazingly, the subject of ‘probate litigation’ is a tremendously important one, so naturally if you reside in Florida, you’ll be facing the question: where can I find good Florida probate lawyers in my area?
FL Probate Lawyer : Firstly, the Definition:
The first step is to understand what you’re dealing with. ‘Probate’ is in essence the legal procedure taken when a person’s debts are paid and assets owned by a decedent (deceased person) in the matter are then distributed among remaining family members, typically by use of a Last Will and Testament.
Probate also tends to involve the dispute in front of a competent judicial authority on the authenticity of any Last Will and Testament of any decedent.
It might be pretty clear now: this matter’s simply on the subject of whether or not a deceased person really wanted to hand over certain assets to this person within the family or that person within the family. In addition, a ‘probate litigation’ would take into account any possible debts incurred by the deceased person, requiring payment to family members or non-members directly involved with the deceased person. Hence the relevant dispute.
So you can see the need for an effective Florida probate lawyer.
FL Probate Lawyer : What is ‘Probate Litigation’?
Let’s provide an example here:
Great-grandfather just passed away after, of course, leaving a Last Will and Testament. Here’s your issue:
He has an outstanding debt with you. Unfortunately, he can’t pay you back now.
The ‘probate litigation’ is designed to offer a Last Will and Testament as a sort of ‘collateral’ to help pay off a debt rightfully owed to you. The issue of dispute then comes to what is known as a will contest, the challenging of certain aspects of the Last Will and Testament, such as:
• The Contents of the Last Will and Testament
• A Certain Provision Included in the Last Will and Testament
• The Appointment of an ‘Executor’ (Also Known as a Personal Representative)
• Or the Entire Document Itself
It’s a fiercely contested issue, because in essence any Last Will and Testament would literally be the dying words of a human being. So taking any form of asset out of the Will and Testament and converting it to paid debt would be a serious burden of proof. Both sides, of course, would require the services of a good Florida probate lawyer.
FL Probate Lawyer : And There Lies the Rub: How Do You Find a Good One?
After consulting with several Florida probate lawyers, the underlying fact is this: you need a competent one. In establishing a hearing for a probate ligitation – whether you’re on the side of the decedent protecting a Will and Testament, or on the side of debtor(s) trying to claim payment – being able to consider the weight of the contents of any Last Will and Testament, better yet the authenticity of any Last Will and Testament – one Florida probate lawyer must be extremely knowledgeable on the law, rhetoric, wording, and an ability to either establish or disprove authenticity, or be able to represent well for any settlement of any stipulation(s) within a Will and Testament.
In other words, find Florida probate lawyers that have a ton of experience in the matter! Because it is serious. You want a Florida probate lawyer that can argue for your case and get you the best result possible.
And when it comes to probate, sometimes there’s no clear win between sides.
Be sure when doing research on Florida probate lawyers to examine each firm’s web site, reading each piece of information for relevancy and focus. And be sure to ask for referrals. If it turns out that the Florida probate lawyer with which you’re consulting has had case losses in the past with former clients, you’ll want to know about it.
Of course, contacting the Florida Bar Association is paramount if you want to make sure you’re working with a Florida probate lawyer that happens to be in good standing. That’s a no-brainer. Without a doubt, good infrastructure is a must in any firm, so recognize that when considering any particular place; ask questions about the support staff, technological advantages, billing practices, even procedures between clients and attorneys.
They may make the difference between a won case and a sheer legal nightmare (even if you do win, because remember: you still pay your Florida probate lawyer a percentage).
FL Probate Lawyer : The Battle Begins
When I said that probate litigation was a ‘fiercely contested issue,’ I wasn’t joking. Because the fact is many cases go in front of a jury. It goes to a decision. For example:
Does the brother of the deceased receive the decedent’s estate, or does the sister of the deceased receive the decedent’s estate? There can be some bitterness, some debate, even some allegations in the matter. And it would be up to a jury to decide certain things – and this is especially true if there is, in fact, no Last Will and Testament.
So you can imagine that Brother and Sister would want good Florida probate lawyers on their sides.
A particular need for jury trials, of course, resides with the fact that there is a theory of liability grounded in what can be referred to as a “tortuous interference with an inheritance” or an “intentional interference with an expectancy.”
In other words, Brother or Sister might try to “get in the way” of a promise made to either side by the decedent. Call it unscrupulous action, but for sure a jury trial is necessary to ensure the integrity of a dying person’s wishes. For sure, all Florida probate lawyers would agree wholeheartedly.
Typical ways that an individual might “get in the way” of any last wishes are power-of-attorney title and ownership changes (happens sometimes) or even assisting a person about to die with the preparation of a new will entitling any individual with assets originally not awarded to said individual.
These actions seem deceitful and even downright disgusting. But they can be valid reasons – hence a trial by jury is necessary to determine validity.
FL Probate Lawyer : And A Winner (Hopefully) Remains
The ideal outcome, of course, is a satisfactory decision to honor the decedent as best as possible. No matter how you look at it, that’s the goal of a good probate attorney.
And hopefully family members and/or non-members can see it that way as well. Probate litigation can get cutthroat at times; but it doesn’t have to be as long as the truth is known.