VanNess & VanNess, P.A.

Getting help with probate

Some Florida residents who are named as an executor under a friend's or family member's will may believe that they can tackle the probate process on their own. There are several reasons why this might be a poor idea, as there are many requirements that might be difficult to understand.

The requirements for probate proceedings are outlined in the state's codes, and those laws contain many requirements that must be followed. An executor who doesn't understand all of what is required runs the risk of being held to be personally liable if mistakes are made.

Executors are required to notify all of the potential heirs and creditors of the decedent's estate. This is meant to allow interested parties to contest the will or to seek money for debts that are owed. It is not uncommon for executors to forget to notify some of the parties that should have been notified, including heirs, even if they have been expressly disinherited. A failure to notify creditors may leave the executor responsible for repaying the liabilities instead of having the decedent's estate pay. Another issue that sometimes happens is when a will does not waive the requirement that the personal representative be bonded. If the executor's credit will not allow a bond to be secured, this could result in the court appointing another representative.

People who are named as executors might want to obtain the help of an attorney who has experience with these types of matters and who understand the requirements and how to avoid potential pitfalls. The attorney can also file the required documents and handle any resulting probate litigation if any interested parties contest the will.

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