When somebody dies in the State of Florida, property and assets of the deceased are required to go through Florida’s probate process in order to ensure beneficiaries receive their proper share of the estate. These assets are generally referred to as “inheritance.” Ideally, the deceased individual named their beneficiaries within a will or trust.

In cases where a person dies without a will or trust, Florida has an additional process to determine who should receive the assets. This process is known as Intestate Succession. Cases involving intestate property are often highly complex and require the aid of an attorney who specializes in probate and inheritance.

A probate and inheritance lawyer helps people navigate complex laws associated with probate. This includes estate administration, Intestate Succession laws, and legal disputes.

Legal Disputes Over Inheritance

Legal disputes over the inheritance of a deceased individual is known as estate litigation. These cases usually involve legal action regarding a will or trust. Sometimes when a person passes away, family members may be unhappy with various aspects of the deceased person’s will or trust. Other times a person may die intestate which means without any will or trust in place. In either case, family members should consult an attorney that specializes in handling probate and estate litigation cases as sound legal advice is absolutely necessary in these scenarios.

Common Reasons For Disputes

In Florida, family members may contest a will or trust for a variety of reasons. Some common grounds include:

Improper influence. Sadly, this occurs when a person takes advantage of an elderly person and influences them to change their will or trust to benefit a specific party.

Lack of capacity. This happens when the deceased was not of sound mind when the will or trust was written.

Improper form. If a legal document, like a will or trust is not properly executed, it is invalid. For example, these documents must have witnesses during the signing process. If a will or trust was not properly witnessed, it is not a valid legal document.

Failure of the personal representative. If the personal representative of the deceased person does not carry out the terms of the will or trust as written, family members may consult an attorney.

Guardian issues. In situations where no guardian was appointed for minor children, the courts get involved. Sometimes the decedent appoints a guardian that is no longer available. Other times grief stricken family members disagree with where minor children may be living after their parent’s passing. So, there are a few situations where guardian issues may involve the courts and attorneys.

Inheritance Administration Process

According to Florida law, after an individual dies, all assets of the decedent must be transferred out of his or her name. Assets that are jointly owned, have a beneficiary designation or that are payable on death, do not have to go through probate. However, all other assets that are titled solely in the decedent’s name must go through this legal process. This can often take between six (6) to twelve (12) months.

Physical copy of a living will that has blank spaces for someone to fill in information and put their initials

Here are the basic steps involved in the administration of inheritance in Florida.

  1. Filing The Will
  2. Filing The Petition for Administration
  3. Appointing The Personal Representative
  4. Determining The Validity of a Will
  5. Accounting of The Assets
  6. Closing The Estate

Speak With An Estate & Inheritance Lawyer

Our law firm has extensive trial experience and specializes in Florida estate litigation. This includes the representation of trustees, beneficiaries, or others, who may challenge a will or trust.

This litigation experience makes us a powerful ally to client’s involved in legal disputes as well as a powerful resource in helping clients avoid litigation through sound estate planning strategies.

If you have issues involving the inheritance of a deceased family member, contact an inheritance lawyer at our firm for a free and confidential case review.