After a person passes away, his or her estate will generally go through probate. This is the process of legally passing the person's assets on to others and resolving the various financial elements. The probate process can be confusing and overwhelming, particularly when people are also struggling with grief and loss.
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.
Probate is undoubtedly a difficult process to navigate, especially for people who are grieving the loss of a loved one. Between the waiting and the arguing over what should happen to a person's property, family and friends often feel angry, frustrated and powerless.
In previous posts on this blog, we have discussed numerous ways that a person might prevent fights among family members during probate by having a clear, enforceable estate plan in place.
In a previous post on this blog, we discussed the importance of making a will accessible so that the process of administering an estate can be easier and faster. In that post, which can be read in full here, we note that lack of accessibility is one of the major obstacles to administering an estate in accordance with a person's wishes.
Consulting an attorney after the loss of a loved one may seem unnecessary, especially if the person left a will and had a traditional estate. However, securing legal counsel can make a big difference in the lives of those affected by the loss.
When any person passes away, steps must be taken to resolve all financial and property-related matters of that person's estate. This typically happens during probate, which is the legal process of validating a person's will, paying debts and distributing assets.
In the days following a person's death, family members and loved ones can be suffering with immense grief and sadness. During such a difficult time, any task that creates contention or confusion can make the situation that much more upsetting.
It is important for Floridians of all financial situations to have basic estate planning documents drafted so that when they pass on their interests and intentions will be respected regarding their assets. However, even when testamentary documents are clearly written, it is helpful to have a responsible person named as the individual who will see that the decedent's wishes are followed and their debts paid. This person is called an executor and their responsibilities surround the execution and probating of a will.
Some readers of this Florida legal blog may be familiar with the purpose of a personal will. For those who are not, a will is an estate planning tool that explains what the individual wants done with their property when they die. The maker of a will can name particular parties as beneficiaries to receive money, goods and other assets through the will. In a will, a person may also disinherit a family member who might otherwise have had a claim to some or all of the will creator's estate.