Estate Settlement Lawyers in Sarasota, Florida

estate settlement attorney sarasota, florida
The passing of a loved one is always a difficult time. Emotions can run high, especially when you’re trying to deal with estate settlement and make sure your loved one’s wishes are respected. Don’t feel like you need to deal with this process on your own. Getting an estate settlement lawyer in Sarasota, Florida can help make sure you stay on the right track and make the process a lot easier and less stressful. 

If you have an estate settlement attorney in Sarasota, Florida, you’re also prepared for any complications that may come up with your loved one’s will during probate. Your attorney will help answer any questions you might have and can help walk you through the process, no matter how complicated it gets. 

Here’s what you need to know about estate settlement, why having an estate settlement attorney or law firm on your side can help, and what you should expect from probate. 

What Is Estate Settlement?

Estate settlement is a term sometimes used for the process after someone passes away. This includes overseeing the will through probate, along with any other details that might need to be taken care of before the estate can be closed. 

For instance, in some cases, the decedent might want their home sold so that the proceeds can be split between the beneficiaries of their will instead of having one person inherit the whole home. Those kinds of transactions are part of estate settlement. 

Why Do I Need An Estate Settlement Attorney In Sarasota, Florida? 

There are a couple of reasons you might want to have an estate settlement lawyer in Sarasota, Florida. For one thing, an estate settlement attorney is going to be an expert in this process. They know how estate settlement is supposed to work, and the common sticking points, and can help prepare you for how long it takes to manage estate settlement. 

Having an estate settlement lawyer in Sarasota, Florida is also helpful if there are any objections to the will during probate, problems settling outstanding debts or other complications that interfere with the terms of the will. 

What Is Probate? 

Probate is the formal legal process wills need to go through to be executed in Florida. Basically, this court process helps to verify that the will is legal and enforceable and then helps to make sure that the will of the decedent and the concerns of all interested parties are respected in the process. 

If you’ve heard of undue influence contests or decedents who have outstanding debts that need to be addressed before their beneficiaries can inherit, probate is where those problems are taken care of. 

There is a formal legal process for probate, including submitting the will, certifying that the estate settlement needs to begin, gathering and cataloging the assets included in the will, notifying the interested parties, and allowing time for objections (also called contests) to be filed and litigated before the final settlement. 

Why Do I Need An Estate Settlement Lawyer In Sarasota, Florida For Probate?

The main role of an estate settlement lawyer in Sarasota, Florida during an uncontested probate process is to make sure that the terms of the will are being followed and that their client understands the process. 

However, you also want to have an estate settlement attorney or law firm working on your side in case there are contests. They’ll be able to research the case, form arguments, and otherwise represent your interests in negotiations and, if necessary, litigation. 

While we always hope that estate settlement will be an easy and uncontested process, having an estate settlement law firm available to represent your interests helps keep you protected in case of unforeseen complications. 

How Long Does Probate Take In Sarasota, Florida? 

An average probate process can still take quite a while, and cases where the will is contested will take much longer. In Florida estate settlement typically takes between 9-18 months, though sometimes the estate can be settled faster. 

With litigation involved, you should plan on probate taking several months longer, and cases can stretch out to a year or more. 

How Much Does Probate Cost? 

Typically probate will cost between 2% and 7% of the total value of the assets included in the will, but there is a lot of variability between cases. 

The more complicated the estate, especially if property is held in several states or countries, or if you’re dealing with intellectual property rights and things like who will inherit any ongoing income from copyrighted materials, can add to the cost of estate settlement and probate. 

The simpler the will the lower costs are likely to be. 

However, whenever a will is involved there will also be at least some costs from the personal representative or executor of the estate because they are entitled to compensation for any costs incurred while overseeing the execution of the will. 

What Happens If Someone Contests The Will During Probate? 

If someone contests the will during probate a few things will happen. First, the validity of the objection will be reviewed. 

You can’t just contest a will because you don’t like it, there needs to be a valid legal reason to contest the will. 

If the contest is valid, the next step is typically investigation or information gathering and negotiation. A lot of the time it’s in everyone’s best interests for estate settlement attorneys in Sarasota, Florida to negotiate a settlement out of court. It’s faster, less expensive, and assuming everyone can agree to the terms of the settlement it may be more favorable. 

However, if a reasonable settlement can’t be reached the case will be taken to court where a judge will evaluate everyone’s position, the objection, and any evidence that can be provided to either support or disprove the validity of the objection, and will come to a decision. 

Once all objections have been settled, only then can the rest of the estate settlement be completed. Beneficiaries do not have access to the assets given them in the will until the estate settlement is done. 

How Much Does It Cost To Litigate An Objection To The Will? 

Litigating a contest to the will can be highly expensive and take a long time, depending on the nature of the contests and how willing the involved parties are to pursue litigation. 

If you’re dealing with a will that’s likely to be contested it’s especially important to have an estate attorney in Sarasota, Florida on your side. 

However, in many cases, your estate settlement lawyer will be able to work with the other interested parties and their representation to settle the case out of court. Settling with an agreement instead of a litigation can save everyone time and money and help speed up the probate process. 

Remember, each contest to the will need to be handled separately. Hopefully, you won’t have to deal with a will objection, but they are relatively common and some wills face multiple objections. 

The more valuable the assets in the will, the more time and money it will likely take to litigate objections. 

Get An Estate Settlement Law Firm In Sarasota, Florida

If you need an estate settlement attorney you’re in the right place. Contact the Law Office of Mary E. King, P.L. for a consultation on your case and to see if one of our attorneys is the right fit for you.