Representing Clients in Florida, Massachusetts, & Connecticut
At Gitlen Law Firm, our probate lawyer is ready to represent you and fight for the justice you deserve. Based in Stuart, FL, Attorney Richard Gitlen has represented clients in the areas of probate law throughout Florida, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.
You don’t have to defend your loved one’s will alone. Get in touch with us today!
Probate Law Practices
A family member or family partner has a deceased person in their lives. Probate is needed. What to do? First, retain a Florida attorney. Why me? I have represented clients in Florida for the past 25 years. I litigate cases on a regular basis and know how to probate cases both simple and complex.
Probate is the Court legal process in which a deceased person’s debts and assets owned by the decedent are accumulated by the personal representative designated by the Will or determined by the Court if there is no will.
An attorney is required to represent the personal representative. Attorney Fees are dictated by Florida Statute and may require approval by the Court. Wills must be prepared in accordance with Florida Statutes. Improperly prepared wills may be challenged by an interested party if not prepared in accordance with Florida statutes.
Probate litigation may occur for numerous reasons.
Creditors and designated heirs and other interested parties may dispute the allocation of payment of debt or distribution of assets.
Multiple Wills may exist and the latest Will may be contested by a prior Will’s heirs deleted by the most recent Will.
If the Will is not prepared in accordance with Florida Statutes, the Will may be deemed invalid by the Court and assets will be distributed in accordance with Florida law that may be significantly different from the wishes of the deceased.
Undue influence may be alleged, which is not uncommon in Florida in that there is a large amount of wealthy residents that are preyed upon by significant others or caretakers of the elderly and infirmed.
Lack of Capacity by the testator when the Will is executed is not uncommon in Florida.
Determination of legitimate heirs need to be approved by the court. If there is no Will, the Court also needs to determine the heirs of the estate.
The surviving spouse of a person who dies, domiciled in Florida, has the right to a share of the estate, even if the Will states otherwise.
Only those assets that were solely owned by the decedent at the time of death requires probate. Domiciliary probate is probate of assets that are located in Florida and owned by the decedent who is a Florida resident. A vacationing snowbird, whose residence is a different State, files for probate in the other state, but for assets at this state, like a second home. The personal representative must file with the court an ancillary probate of the Florida assets.
Undue influence, fraud, duress, lack of mental capacity may be contested in Court regarding the execution of a Will.
Placing assets in a trust may avoid probate but other problems could arise, such as self-dealing by the trustee, or inappropriate gifting of trust assets.
Documents to consider are Last Will and Testament, Power of Attorney, Healthcare Surrogate, Living Will, Do Not Resuscitate, and Revocable Living Trust.