Probate is often an upsetting process, especially for people who are reeling from the death of a loved one and struggling to cope with the loss. However, probate proceedings can go smoothly when there is a clear, comprehensive will and everyone does what they should do.
Unfortunately, there are times when the probate process stalls and fights break out. This can happen when one of the following parties raises objections or fails to do what they are supposed to do in accordance with Florida estate and probate statutes.
- Family members- Family members are often the source of delays and challenges during probate. Sometimes, families cannot agree on whether a will is valid; they may argue over an executor’s actions; they might also challenge the terms of a trust. These and other disputes can lead to contentious battles and draw out the probate process.
- Creditors – The personal representative for an estate must take specific steps to notify potential creditors of a person’s death and give them time to file a claim with the estate. If there is a delay during any step of the notification or response processes, probate can take much longer.
- A testator or property manager – Identifying and securing assets is a critical part of the probate process, as it ensures a person’s property goes to the proper party. If a personal representative or others cannot locate assets, including digital property or an expensive family heirloom, the probate process can stall until someone finds the property.
- Personal representative – The person in this role has several major responsibilities to keep the probate process moving. If he or she fails to act, makes avoidable mistakes or misuses estate money, then fights can erupt and legal complications can prevent probate from moving forward.
If you are in one of these roles, or if you are making a will and anticipate any complications from these or other parties, it is crucial to understand what steps you can take to avoid or resolve legal issues that could delay the probate process. Talking to an attorney about your concerns can help you assess your options and pursue a fair, satisfactory resolution.