Q: My brother died intestate in Miami, FL in November 2016. We need advice re ongoing probate.
Brother left considerable debt (about $20,000). Bo's only assets are a 25% ownership in a home in Ocala (the house was inherited from our mother; my two other brothers and I own the other 75%), and an automobile. Probate attorney filed the probate petitions in January 2017. After 16 months and $7000 in attorney fees, I have finally been named personal representative (Letters of Administration received April 2018). We want to sell the house and transfer title to the car. Current attorney says that because of how slow and difficult Miami-Dade probate cases are, we should wait for end of the 90-day creditor period, then negotiate and pay Bro's debts out of our own pockets, then petition the court to have ownership of the house and car transferred to us so we can sell house. He says this is the fastest and easiest route to getting the Miami probate court to authorize sale of the house. This is not what he told us originally. Any advice?
A: I am sorry for your loss. Your best bet would be to review your case with a probate attorney, but generally, if the creditors fail to make claim against the estate for payment within the 90 days, you may not need to negotiate repayment terms and there are certain exemptions allowed for different types of Estate property, so you may have more options than you think! Best of Luck! Jennifer
A: Probate in Miami Dade county CAN take a very long time - considerably longer than any other county. That said, I'd ask if they creditors claims can be paid from the proceeds of your mother's Ocala property. Since you are the appointed PR, Miami Dade will likely require you to seek authorization to sign off on the sale of your mother's Ocala property (Is the Ocala home still in probate? This may add a layer of complexity here.)
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