Lehigh Acres, FL asked in Estate Planning for Florida

Q: Is there a reason my relatives wont give my my fathers attorney info?

My father recently passed away. (August 24th 2020). My sister and i were supposed to inherit his life policy. Now all of a sudden, a different beneficiary on a document recently magically found, determines that we do not inherit that as he intended. When i asked for my fathers attorney information, each relative i have asked, has refused, or has said that THEY will speak to the attorney for me. Im not sure what i should do. But no ones said anything to me. And no ones given me much more than scraps of information. My father had a will, and all of sudden now he doesnt. All of a sudden. And all of a sudden, nothings been signed, and he didnt leave us anything, but other famiky members who live in his state that are there "handling things" are apparentl inheriting everything and anything from his estate and life policy. and his children whom he loved more than life itself are all conviently cut out of everything. No one telling me anything. No one talking to me. Can anyone help?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Phillip William Gunthert
Phillip William Gunthert
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Orlando, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: Very sorry for your loss and the passing of your father, please accept my condolences. You will likely need to contact an attorney in the state where this is taking place (his residence, place of probate), if the state is anything like Florida, you should be able to go online yourself possibly and see if anything has been opened. If there is a Will assets usually will go to a spouse and or per the terms of the Will, if there is no Will, assets usually go to the spouse and or children. The longer you wait, the more difficult it becomes to try to unravel a probate. Since all this just happened recently in August, that is not a long time at all for anything related to a probate, they may not even have filed yet because the attorney doesn't even have all the information and details yet. I would encourage you to try to look online to see if anything has commenced, you may also want to get an attorney and consider filing a Caveat ( A caveat in Florida probate court is a legal document filed with the probate court to provide notice to the court that there is an interested party who wants to be notified if an estate is opened. A caveat allows a beneficiary or creditor to receive notice of a petition for administration without having to open a probate administration themselves).

1 user found this answer helpful

Paul Cain
Paul Cain
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: I'm very sorry for your recent loss. Although this is likely a tough time, please be mindful that your window of opportunity to contest a will is not unlimited. Each state has their own laws regarding probate, and because you mentioned your father doesn't live in Florida, I highly suggest that you seek an attorney in his home state. A Florida attorney cannot offer legal advice regarding another state's laws (unless they are licensed there as well).

If you your father owned property in Florida, there will likely be an ancillary administration of that particular parcel here. Otherwise, the estate will likely be settled in your father's home state. After finding a licensed attorney there, they will help you determine whether undue influence, fraud, or mistake played a role in how things are turning out.

I wish you all the best, and I hope you get through this difficult time with as little pain as possible.

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