When we are hired to handle a probate, early on we always ask: “is everyone aware and on board with this?” The probate process requires that everyone know what’s going on. It’s great if everyone is on the same page initially. It always makes me feel like things are going to go smoother if our petitioner knows what’s going on with the beneficiaries.
Having said that, most of our practice is made up of cases with a little “crunch.” We get the cases that aren’t vanilla. One way to let the court know that everyone agrees with what we’re asking for is through the use of Waivers.
If it’s a Summary Administration we use a Joinder, Waiver, and Consent. This says to the probate court “I got a copy, I agree, I want to ask for the same thing the petitioner is, and I don’t want a hearing. A Formal administration usually includes a Waiver of Notice of Administration. This let’s the probate court know “I got a copy, I don’t have any objection to this.”
When someone tells us their brother, sister, cousin or whoever else may be involved is going to be difficult, it helps us to explore why they may be difficult. On many cases, we can get everyone to understand what’s going on and how it will affect them.
Sometimes, like when we represent a Personal Representative in Florida Probate, we can not give advice to the beneficiaries or creditors. I’ve gotten calls from our personal representative saying “Oh no, he’s going to hire his own attorney.” Every time this has happened, I reach out to the beneficiary’s attorney to introduce myself, get them up to date on what’s happened. This initial call usually concludes with “Cool, we are on the same page, don’t hesitate to call or email me!”
It’s those cases where a beneficiary is acting unreasonable and they need someone in their corner to help them not make a big mess. It is always best to have your own probate attorney, even when you’re just a beneficiary.
These issues are usually spotted early on because we handle probate as a team with the personal representative, the beneficiaries, and us all working toward the same goal.
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