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5 Problems That May Arise During Probate In Florida


Probate administrations are often new experiences for many heirs/beneficiaries or personal representatives handling the estate.  It can seem like an intimidating process if you’ve never been involved with one before.  Although it can seem like a straightforward process, it is not uncommon for problems to arise when handling probate matters.  It’s important to know ahead of time what types of issues you can expect.

Common Problems That May Come Up During the Probate Process

Here are five common problems we see routinely occur in probate administrations:

  1. Conflict and disagreements between family members

A probate administration is needed because there has been a death in the family. This is already a very emotional time for the family, and everyone handles their emotions differently.  Common types of conflicts between family members can arise, including:

  • Disagreements regarding inherited property
  • Ambiguous or unclear language in the decedent’s Will or Trust
  • Beneficiaries excluded from the Will
  • Disagreements regarding the sale of the decedent’s assets to pay off debts

Any disagreements between beneficiaries and heirs can complicate and delay the probate process.  It also causes tension between family members.

  1. A personal representative’s inability or refusal to perform duties

The person named to serve as the estate’s personal representative must perform a number of actions when probating the decedent’s estate. The personal representative’s inability or refusal to administer the probate can result in significant delays and make the probate process more expensive.  It’s important for the petitioning personal representative to understand that serving in this role is a job and requires time and energy.

In such situations, appointing the appropriate personal representative to serve can prevent delays and unnecessary expenses for the estate.

  1. Will contests

While it is not common for beneficiaries and other interested persons to challenge the validity of the decedent’s Will.  A Will-contest can cause a number of problems during the probate process.  When contesting a Will in Florida, the person filing a Will contest must ensure that they have grounds for challenging the legal document.  Moreover, this will delay the administration process significantly because a Will-contest often includes a disagreement as to who should serve as personal representative of the estate.

  1. The estate has sizeable debt

If the decedent left behind lots of debt, it could take a long time to settle their estate through probate.  Under Florida law, the decedent’s assets cannot be distributed to the beneficiaries before the estate’s debts are determined.

One of the more frustrating issues is when the personal representative is unsure of all the debt’s that the decedent had during their lifetime.

  1. Other problems a knowledgeable probate attorney can prevent

Many petitioners think they do not need an attorney to handle the distribution of property to close an estate after the decedent’s death.  For Summary Administration proceedings, attorneys are not needed.  However, it is strongly encouraged to have an attorney because you can cause serious issues without understanding its significance.

Contact a St. Petersburg Probate Attorney

An experienced attorney can help you prevent and solve any problems that may arise during probate in Florida. For this reason, it is highly recommended to consult with a knowledgeable attorney if you have been named a personal representative. Schedule a case review with our probate attorneys at Legacy Protection Lawyers, LLP, by calling 727-471-5868.

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