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Common Probate Issues


In an ideal world, everything would go smoothly when a loved one died. The person would have a will or trust in place, everything would be divided fairly among family members and everyone would be able to move on with their lives quickly.

However, this is rarely the case. Family members often get quite emotional over the loss of their loved one, and these heightened emotions can cause them to say and do things they may later regret. They may lie or allege things that are not true. In many cases, there is no estate plan in place, leading to probate issues. Read on to learn about the most common probate issues and how a lawyer can help.

Fights Between Family Members Over Inheritances 

This issue is common, as there always seems to be at least one family member who expected to receive much more when their loved one died. Inheritance battles can be prevented with an estate plan. It’s a good idea to discuss inheritances with children and other close family members while you are still alive. The best bet, however, is to leave equal inheritances, regardless of financial status. Those with higher incomes will have animosity toward their needy siblings, so prevent these fights and just give everyone the same amount. 

Executor Refuses the Role 

While most appointed executors carry out their roles without issues, some don’t want the responsibility and refuse the role. This means that the court has to appoint some to serve as executor, causing delays. You can avoid this situation by naming multiple executors in your estate plan. That way, if your first choice refuses or cannot serve for some other reason, you have backups in place. 

Assets in Multiple States 

If your loved one lived in various states throughout their lifetime, they may have real estate in more than one state. This can lead to complexities, as real estate is governed by state laws, which vary from state to state. Some states actually require probate attorneys to handle these properties upon the owner’s death, so if your loved one has property in another state, seek legal help right away. 

Deciding What to Do With Real Estate 

Ideally, the decedent will have an estate plan that outlines what should be done with homes and other real estate. If there is no plan in place, then the heirs will often be left to decide what to do with the property. They may have differing opinions. One may want to keep the property for themselves, one may want to use the property as rental income and another may want to sell it. It is best to come to an agreement before entering probate, but the decision that often makes the most sense is to sell the property and split the proceeds. That way, everyone gets a piece of it. 

Seek Legal Help

When a loved one dies, it can cause heavy emotions. Family issues tend to crop up during this difficult time. With so much potential conflict, it is helpful to have someone on your side who is looking out for your best interests.

Fort Lauderdale probate litigation lawyer Edward J. Jennings, P.A. can help with wills, beneficiary disputes, issues with executors and other problems you may face as you divide assets after a family member’s death. Schedule a consultation by filling out the online form or calling 954-764-4330.




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