Probate can be a complicated and lengthy process, but it doesn’t have to be. If you know what your doing then the probate for an estate in Jacksonville could consist of only four easy steps. The flip side is that often times people are deceived into thinking they need legal help when all they really needed was somebody who knew how to navigate this complex procedure on their behalf.
Probates take place because there has been death, so obviously from time-to-time you’ll hear about some long drawn out processes where lawyers charge too much money or just make things more difficult than necessary.
The flip side is that both the dread and simplicity often open people up to certain probate scams. Let’s take a look.
The Probate Process for a House in Jacksonville – How to Avoid Getting Scammed
Probate Process for a House in Jacksonville
Without the right kind of trust in place, probate usually follows a person’s passing. Probate is the process by which someone with no will or heirs has their last debts paid and property transferred to beneficiaries and friends. Those who have wills are able to appoint guardians for any children they may leave behind as well as distribute assets according to how they wish them distributed after death.
Typically, the probate process follows four steps.
- The first step involves filing a petition with the probate court to admit the will and appoint an executor or, if there’s no will, to appoint an administrator of the estate. A hearing date is set, and notice of the hearing is published locally.
- After being appointed by the court, the decedent’s personal representative gives notice to all creditors, and an inventory of the estate is made.
- After determining which claims are legitimate, the personal representative pays all expenses, debts, and taxes from the estate. Sometimes, this involves selling estate assets to meet obligations.
- Assets (legal title to a house, for instance) are disbursed according to the decedent’s wishes expressed in the will or, in case there is no will, according to the state’s intestate succession laws.
And that’s it for the probate process for a house in Jacksonville and for the entire estate as well. Just be wary about any scams that may pop up along the way.
Common Probate Scams
These are some new twists on old scams that owe their re-birth (and effectiveness) chiefly to the Internet and email. They always, however, target the vulnerable.
- Probate Avoidance Scam – The age group that most often falls victim to this scam is the elderly. The perpetrators of these scams usually target them by persuading victims to buy fraudulent products with promises such as avoiding probate, for example a very expensive living trust kit which will help avoid any legal proceedings after death. Once they have received their money in hand and no delivery has been provided or if only an useless product was delivered, it’s over before you know it.
- Inheritance/Estate Tax Scam –Some states still charge inheritance or estate taxes. Scammers are able to get rich off of these by using a trusted person’s name and then telling their potential victims that they stand the chance at inheriting lots of money, but there is one catch: in order for probate to go through it has to be done before any tax can be paid on this fortune. To make sure everyone gets what they deserve, scammers ask if you want them pay the inflated valuation themselves so your version remains untouched as well!
- Fraudulent Listings Scam –Scammers are using Craigslist to trick people into paying upfront for a rental home that doesn’t exist, only surfacing again when the victim is upset. This scam has become popular because of how easy it is to find out about recent deaths through sites like Facebook and obituaries.Scammers have found creative ways around their lack of property ownership by targeting newly deceased homeowners looking for new tenants after they’ve passed away or moved elsewhere due to an emergency circumstance such as job relocation. Using social media platforms like Facebook and news articles from newspapers – all readily available online in one’s search engine browser window – scammers can quickly research properties without having any interaction with residents on site at homes where these scams occur most often: Jacksonville, Florida
If you’re facing probate, especially the probate process for a house in Jacksonville, it’s probably not as ominous and frightening as it first seems. Knowing what it involves and being aware of the common probate scams are good first steps – but there’s more to consider.