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Dade City Probate Lawyer

Effective legal help with the difficult tasks in settling an estate

When a person dies, their will is admitted into probate. This means that a court decides whether the will is valid and should be given effect. The judge may also appoint a personal representative for the estate who is authorized to take the required steps to settle the estate and give effect to the terms of the will. Dade City probate lawyer Laurie R. Chane assists personal representatives with their legal responsibility. We help estate executors and administrators complete the Pasco County probate process efficiently and effectively. An experienced courtroom litigator, Laurie Chane is also available to handle probate litigation such as will contests and challenges regarding fiduciary duties of the personal representative.

The following tasks are generally required as part of a Pasco County probate administration

  • Identify and gather probate assets.
  • Find and notify creditors who may have claims against the estate; publish notices.
  • Settle or litigate claims against the estate.
  • Hire professionals as needed, such as attorneys, accountants and investment advisors.
  • Pay taxes, fees and expenses of the estate.
  • Distribute the estate in accord with the terms of the will.
  • Prepare and file a final tax return for the estate.

Probate litigation may arise for the following reasons

Often an omitted heir or a beneficiary who did not receive an expected inheritance will contest the validity of the will. Common grounds for will contests include:

  • The testator lacked the mental capacity to make a will
  • A family member, friend or caregiver exerted undue influence over the testator in making the will
  • The will was executed under fraud, duress or coercion
  • The testator made a mistake in executing the will

Probate litigation may also involve allegations that the personal representative violated his or her fiduciary duties to the estate in the probate process. This is a very serious matter that can result in personal liability for the representative, which is one of the reasons it is so important to get professional legal help with complex probate matters you are unfamiliar with.

Not all property is subject to probate

The probate process can be expensive and time-consuming, and it can take many months or longer for beneficiaries to receive their inheritance. For this reason, a common goal during estate planning is to remove assets from the probate estate, which can be done in several ways. For instance, assets placed into revocable living trusts are not probate assets. Also, assets that are titled jointly (joint bank accounts) or assets with beneficiary designations (life insurance policies, retirement accounts) don’t have to pass through probate. Whether real property held in joint title will be considered a probate or nonprobate asset depends on exactly how the property is titled. At the Law Office of Laurie R. Chane, we’ll discuss your goals for probate as part of the overall estate planning process and make sure you have taken steps to title property appropriately for your needs.

Dedicated, Detailed Assistance with Pasco County Probate Matters

For help with probate administration or probate litigation in Pasco County, call the Law Office of Laurie R. Chane in Dade city at 352-567-0055 to speak with an efficient and effective Dade City probate lawyer.

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