Representing Families in St Johns, St Augustine, Ponte Vedra, Orange Park, Fleming Island, and Jacksonville
Jacksonville Estate Planning Attorney Serving Florida for More Than 20 Years
Our Jacksonville office is located in Mandarin but serves all neighborhoods, including Ponte Vedra San Marco, San Jose, and Southside
Estate litigation encompasses a wide variety of issues that can arise in disputes about inheritances and other matters relating to a deceased person’s assets. Estate litigation may involve challenges to a will, defending actions as a trustee or fiduciary, or collecting past debts.
Attorney Rose Marie Preddy has been helping individuals prepare their estate plans for more than 25 years. She is passionate about working with her clients to create sound estate plans that protect their assets and their loved ones. Attorney Preddy works closely with each client to offer custom-tailored estate planning solutions. She emphasizes maintaining open communication lines to ensure that no issues, questions, or concerns are ignored.
Types of Estate Litigation Cases We Handle
Preddy Law Firm handles many different kinds of estate litigation cases, including:
Estate Litigation Involving Trusts
Trust litigation becomes common when there is any kind of dispute about the distribution or administration of a deceased person’s trust assets. Trust litigation can involve a dispute about a decedent’s trust that is an independent action since it will not take place within a probate proceeding pertaining to a person’s will. Instead, Florida Statute § 736.0201(1) establishes that trust litigation will be commenced by filing a separate complaint.
Timing can be critical in these types of actions, as the Florida statute of limitations establishes time limits for actions contesting the validity of revocable trusts. A time limit can be as short as six months (if a person was served with notice) or up to four years.
In Florida, there may be a need for trust litigation when assets are missing from a trust, a person was unexpectedly disinherited, or there is any other suspected fraud or criminal activity. Trust violations may have a variety of possible remedies in Florida, including the removal of a trustee, an accounting order, ordering trustees to make distributions that were improperly withheld, the appointment of receivers or special fiduciaries, or modifications or terminations of trusts.
Estate Litigation Involving Wills
When it comes to challenging wills in Florida, only specific individuals may question the terms of a will. One group is heirs-at-law, which is a term for close relatives who will have received a share of an estate if a decedent had died intestate (meaning without a will).
All current or previous beneficiaries may also have challenge claims, as will guardians of interested minors. People can have several possible grounds for challenging a will.
If the will if it was not in writing, signed by the testator, and signed in front of two witnesses, it cannot satisfy these basic requirements will be invalid.
Another issue can be with testamentary capacity, which refers to when the individual creating a will was not of sound mind when they executed it. There can also be issues concerning undue influence when family members believe someone has persuaded a person to make changes to their will.
Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Consultation with a Florida Estate Litigation Lawyer
If you are concerned that you may be in the midst of a complicated dispute about a will or estate, do not wait to seek legal representation. Preddy Law Firm has over two decades of legal experience serving clients all over Florida.
Our firm will maintain a commitment to helping you achieve the most favorable possible outcome in your case.
Call (904) 665-0005 or contact us online to receive a free consultation with our Jacksonville estate litigation lawyer today.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Estate Litigation in Florida
Probate administration is a court process in which assets are collected, creditors are paid, and beneficiaries receive whatever property remains. The two kinds of probate are summary and formal administration, and the existence of a will does not eliminate the need for probate. Personal representatives in Florida are in charge of probating estates.
In Florida, an individual who passes away without a will is known as a dying intestate. In this instance, intestate succession dictates inheritances. Only assets that pass through probate are affected by intestate succession laws, so some assets can pass to surviving co-owners or named beneficiaries regardless of will. When there is no will, and no named beneficiaries are alive to take the property, the property can be transferred according to intestate succession.
Intestate succession in Florida dictates that when a person dies with children but no spouse, the children inherit everything. When they have a spouse but no descendants, the spouse inherits everything. When there is a spouse and descendants, but the spouse has descendants from another relationship, they can inherit half the property while the descendants inherit the other half. When there are parents but no spouse or descendants, the parents inherit everything. The siblings inherit everything when there are siblings but no parents, spouse, or descendants.
Letters of Administration are court orders that are issued as part of a formal administration to authorize a personal representative to begin administering an estate. Administration includes but is not limited to, discussing financial details with banks and brokerages.
The most common ways for people to avoid probate is to 1) designate beneficiaries (if competent adults), 2) jointly own property with rights of survivorship or 3) create living trusts during their lifetimes. Trusts are legal entities that allow people to appoint a person or institution to manage assets transferred into a trust. Any trust requires three parties: a grantor, trustee(s) and one or more beneficiaries. A grantor (sometimes called settlor) is the creator of the trust. The trustee is the one designated to implement the terms of the trust. The beneficiary is the person or class of people designated to benefit from the assets placed in the trust.