Fort lauderdale Probate lawyer

Losing a loved one is difficult for the family members left to mourn. As you go through the grieving process, emotions between family members are often running high, making the probate process especially likely to spark animosity between family members. Whether there are multiple heirs or another issue regarding a deceased family member’s last will and testament, if a dispute arises, it may be emotionally difficult for those involved. When you get the help of a  probate law firm, they can work with you and your family to help pursue fair outcomes as efficiently and amicably as possible.

At The Law Offices of Daryl L. Jones, P.A, Attorneys Daryl L. Jones and Faequa Khan are  dedicated to helping clients in Fort Lauderdale and throughout south Florida who may have to pursue probate litigation after losing a loved one. No one wants to go through a legal dispute after the loss of a family member. However, this is often the reality for families when it comes to the deceased person’s final will and testament, or if the deceased has no will or trust. The pain of losing a loved one can often intensify  if heirs feel they are not being given their fair share of the deceased’s estate. To get help navigating the probate process as stress-free as possible, work with our experienced Ft. Lauderdale probate lawyers. 

What Is Probate in Fort Lauderdale, Florida?

Probate is the process of proving a last will and testament, which means verifying that the will is legal and the deceased person’s intentions are carried out. Probate also occurs when there is no will and a probate court must decide how to distribute the assets of the deceased’s estate to his or her loved ones. For small estates, probate may only take a matter of weeks or months. The probate process for larger estates can take years. Anyone with a valid claim to any assets in the estate may contest the will or file a petition with the probate court, which could drag the process out even longer.

Many assets do not  go through probate. Bank accounts, retirement funds, and life insurance policies with a payable-on-death beneficiary are transferred to the beneficiary upon the owner’s death. Assets in a trust are governed separately from probate according to the terms of the trust.

Who Can File a Petition With Probate Court?

Under probate law, only interested parties with valid legal reasons may file a petition with the probate court. Florida’s Probate Code identifies interested parties as any of the following:

  • Heirs, also referred to as direct family members
  • Beneficiaries
  • Creditors
  • Another party who has a property right or claim against the estate being administered

However, being considered an interested party under probate law is not enough to file a petition with the probate court. If you are an interested party, you must also have one of the following valid legal reasons for the petition:

  • Incapacity of the deceased individual when they wrote their will
  • Inappropriate or insufficient witnesses
  • Fraud or a person exuding undue influence over the testator
  • The existence of a later valid will than the one currently being used
  • Unclear provisions of the will

If you are unsure whether you are eligible to file a petition with probate court, our knowledgeable Fort Lauderdale probate lawyers may be able to help by going over the details of your claim.

What Are the Steps of the Probate Process?

Contrary to popular belief, wills don’t help you avoid probate. However, the terms of the will guide probate, and they can make the process easier for everyone involved. The nine steps of the probate process are:

  • Meet with an attorney to discuss the details of your case
  • File a petition with the probate court
  • Notify the deceased individual’s creditors
  • Conduct an inventory of the deceased’s estate
  • Close the creditor period and pay any valid debts
  • File and pay the estate taxes
  • Conduct the final estate accounting
  • Distribute the remaining assets to any beneficiaries
  • Close the estate

The probate process can seem overwhelming to those who have not gone through it before, but you do not have to go through these steps on your own. Our probate lawyers have the skills and experience to help you through each of the nine probate process steps. 

Get Help From a Fort Lauderdale Probate Lawyer Today

After losing a family member, you and your family may face emotional and financial struggles due to this immense loss. Unfortunately, the death of a loved one often gives way to disputes concerning the will and final testament of the deceased. If you must go through the probate process, our Ft. Lauderdale probate lawyers may be able to help. 

The Law Offices of Daryl L. Jones, P.A is a Florida law firm dedicated to helping clients in Fort Lauderdale and throughout south Florida who are going through the probate process. We understand that handling a dispute during probate can be overwhelming. That is why Attorney Daryl L. Jones and his team are passionate about providing you with the trusted representation you deserve. To schedule a free initial strategy session, contact us here or call (305) 969-3602.