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Probate litigation can help ensure final wishes are carried out

Planning a final estate, while time-consuming and sometimes difficult, is generally considered a necessity for everyone in Florida or elsewhere. It literally takes a lifetime to build an estate, and deciding what to do with it all in the event of death can be taxing. Even with a carefully considered and organized plan, heirs may choose to dispute the terms of an estate, leading to the need for probate litigation.

The size of a person’s estate may determine how specific an estate plan needs to be. However, everyone could benefit from ensuring their heirs are protected from any taxes associated with an inheritance received, as well as safeguarding any property or monies meant for charitable donations. Simply put, an estate plan that is highly detailed with a person’s final wishes and protections for heirs, the less likely it is to head to probate litigation; unless, of course, disagreements regarding the provisions of the estate come to light.

While many individuals do their best to thoughtfully and thoroughly form an estate plan, in the hopes that arguments among children or other beneficiaries are avoided, it is difficult to keep everyone happy. Conflicts between descendants, a sense of entitlement or even missing details regarding meaningful items can all create issues. While the idea of probate may seem awful, if heirs or others claiming to be heirs choose to dispute the estate's conditions, probate litigation can ensure that final wishes are carried out as desired.

While it is possible for Florida residents to set up an estate plan that could avoid probate litigation, it can certainly serve as a valuable tool in passing on an estate, if needed. An estate plan is, after all, not just about making arrangements for where assets should go, but leaving a long-lasting legacy. Depending on the specifics of an estate and feelings of beneficiaries, probate litigation may be the path that is necessary in ensuring that the legacy that is desired to be passed on is actually achieved.

Source:, "A new paradigm for estate planning", Charles H. Baldwin, May 29, 2014

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