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Gierach and Gierach, P.A Gierach and Gierach
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Orlando Probate Litigation Lawyer

Providing wise counsel for will challenges

Florida law is very clear about the procedures for drafting valid wills and trusts. When someone questions the validity of a will or trust because those procedures weren’t followed, we can help. To ensure you have a legitimate basis for probate litigation or guardianship litigation, consult with a seasoned Orlando probate litigation lawyer from Gierach and Gierach, P.A.

Why do people fight over probate?

There are many reasons people seek out probate lawyers and become involved in subsequent probate or guardianship litigation. For one, people are unhappy with the assets they have received — or have not received — under a will. Disagreements over the amount of an asset or how it’s distributed form the basis of many will contests. However, Florida probate courts see many other reasons behind probate disputes, including arguments over:

  • The personal representative’s performance
  • Trusts
  • Guardianship litigation
  • Rights of inheritance of children from multiple marriages
  • Rights of surviving spouses
  • Life insurance and individual retirement accounts
  • Homestead rights

A review of the grounds for probate litigation

While there are a variety of actions in probate litigation, the grounds for initiating a legal challenge include:

  • Failure to follow will execution formalities required by Florida law
  • Breach of fiduciary duty by the decedent’s designated personal representative or trustee
  • The decedent created his or her will or trust under undue influence
  • A decedent’s lack of testamentary capacity when signing the will or trust
  • The will or trust was executed under threat of physical harm or other duress
  • The will or trust was executed by fraud in the execution or fraud in the inducement

About avoiding probate in Orlando

Probate court proceedings, as with any court process, can be long, time-consuming, costly and confusing. That’s why many people seek to avoid probate. The following are some tools that may be used for avoiding probate in Florida:

  • A living trust may be created for any asset you own — real estate, vehicles and bank accounts. Ownership of the asset is transferred to the trust during your lifetime. Assets titled to the trust pass outside the probate process. When you die, the trustee may transfer the assets directly to the named trust beneficiaries, without going to court.
  • Any jointly owned property possessing a right of survivorship transfers ownership without probate court. Two types of joint ownership are available in Florida:
    • Joint tenancy — Property owned in joint tenancy automatically passes to the surviving owner when one owner dies. According to Florida law, each joint tenant owns an equal share of the asset.
    • Tenancy by the entirety — This form of joint ownership is for married couples in Florida.

In Florida, you can include payable-on-death or transfer-on-death clauses in bank accounts, securities, vehicle registrations and real estate deeds. These assets will then pass without probate.

Contact experienced Orlando probate litigation lawyers for a free consultation

For legal help from an experienced Orlando probate litigation attorney, call Gierach and Gierach, P.A. at 407-598-8013, or contact us online today to schedule a free initial consultation. We also assist people from outside Florida.

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