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Uncategorized • Jun 5, 2014

Lately, I’ve written a lot of Palm Beach probate commentary about personal, non-technical issues related to Florida estates & trusts. Why?

Well, the clients at our West Palm Beach probate law firm tell us that probate disputes and litigation are stressful, in addition to being costly. (As far as I know we are the only Florida probate firm to right about some of the “behind the scenes” issues surrounding probate litigation: the frustrations which exist from legal disagreements over blood and money and the “straight talk” about the cost. )

And while trial strategies, probate case law and the Florida Probate Rules are VERY important, how you, a client, feel, and are getting through a probate dispute or disagreement is also important.

Recently, I wrote about the role of a Palm Beach personal representative or trustee and used “angels & demons ” as ametaphor. Let’s use the same metaphor but from a slightly different perspective:

Let’s avoid the demons.

If you are a beneficiary of an estate or trust.

  1. Understand that a trustee or personal representative (executor of a Palm Beach estate) is there to serve you, but is not a servant.
  2. Yes, you do have a right to get information, but don’t be a demon: don’t be overly demanding, and making trouble. Why?
  3. Remember: if you are on a fishing expedition, or trying to make trouble just to make trouble, the Probate Court is going to whack you with fees. Useless discovery? Bad faith? Bam! You are going to write a check for probate attorney fees and costs or have your Palm Beach inheritance reduced.
  4. Healthy inquiries are fine. You have a right to know “stuff” about the probate, the estate and someone’s revocable trust.

Q: But where does a healthy question end, and nagging and pointless legal wrangling begin?

A: Ask someone in the trenches. And don’t be a demon. You don’t have to be an angel, but be smart.