Palm Beach, FL – Many people decide to leave their property and assets to family members through a will, as it is one of the most convenient ways to do so. After a person dies, their will can be examined by a probate court to see if it meets all relevant requirements and the judge can give legal effect to all of the things written in the document. If the will or certain commands within the will cannot be executed, the probate court will use other sets of rules to distribute these items according to state law.
What is a probate court?
A probate court has the authority to execute a will and deal with related matters such as disputes over the will and the testator’s intentions. Much of their job revolves around determining if a will is authentic and the logistics of executing the directions contained within the document. There are also administrative matters related to property values, paying a person’s debts, and appointing an executor that must be handled. Creditors are usually paid out of the estate before the relatives are notified and given their inheritance.
The final amount that is paid out to relatives is also taxed, and the courts are involved in this process as well before the final payout.
Florida’s requirements for wills and intestacy
A will also needs to meet several requirements to be considered valid under Florida law. It must be witnessed, have proper signatures, and other formatting requirements. Florida does not recognize handwritten wills and other less formal documents. If a person dies without a will that meets these formalities, the court will treat the person as if they died without a will and use the intestacy statute to distribute their property. The intestacy statute is basically just a set of default rules that says property will go to certain heirs such as children, parents, siblings, and gradually to extended family members depending on who is available. An experienced attorney should assist with drafting a will for these reasons.
It is also possible that the will itself will be considered valid, but certain individual items in the will are ignored if the person asks the court to do something illegal. For example, some testators have tried to leave property to their pets, which a court will not allow.
Speaking with an experienced probate lawyer
People who need to draft a will or deal with other related issues in probate court can contact a local attorney in Palm Beach, FL for advice and to schedule an initial consultation. Moran and Associates focuses their efforts on various kinds of property law issues.
Firm contact info:
2875 South Ocean Boulevard, Suite 200, Palm Beach, FL 33480