When a person dies, his/her estate is administered through the court, resolving all claims and distributing the person’s property to the heirs or beneficiaries. However, assets aren’t the only things that are distributed to the beneficiaries on a will. If the deceased person was in debt and passed away without repaying what he/she owed, those debts can also be inherited. If you are a beneficiary and have found an estate left to you by someone deceased is insolvent, it is important to seek the counsel of an attorney. At The Law Office of Silverman, Mack & Associates, we can provide you with a probate attorney Gainesville, FL, residents can rely on to help them with an insolvent estate.
What are Florida Insolvent Estates?
An insolvent estate is an estate that an owner left behind when he/she passed away with a greater amount of debt than equity. In other words, an estate in bankruptcy. Because of this, the estate must be sold off to repay the debts, but even after selling it there could still be remaining debts to pay. If the decedent’s assets are not enough to cover the debts, then there would be no inheritance left to the beneficiaries and those beneficiaries may be left with the legal obligation to resolve the debts.
How Does an Insolvent Estate Affect Beneficiaries?
Beneficiaries are not legally responsible for paying creditors out of their own pocket for the debts of a deceased person, simply because they were named in the will. Beneficiaries are only liable for the debts if they voluntarily assume responsibility. For example, if an heir states that he/she will pay the rest of a home prior to the death of the owner, he/she would then be held accountable for some or all of the deceased’s debts. If beneficiaries choose not to cover the debts, they might not receive their inheritances if the state is insolvent or might only receive a small portion of what is left after the bills are paid off. Beneficiaries are only given property after all debts of the estate are paid. If you are faced with an insolvent estate, the counsel Gainesville probate lawyers can help you decide what is the best course of action for you to take.
Handling a Florida Insolvent Estate
When faced with an insolvent estate, there are multiple options you can choose.
- If you are not legally liable for the payment of the estate, you can choose to ignore the problem and do nothing about it.
- If you received an insolvent estate, you can choose to personally resolve the debts.
- If you are liable for an insolvent estate, you can choose to enter probate and resolve the debts under the court.
Common Issues Faced with Insolvent Estates
When deciding to take an insolvent estate, you have the option of doing it on your own or through probate. Each one has its own pros and cons and the route chosen will depend on your preferences and the case itself.
- When entering probate with a solvent estate, you have the choice of asking for nonintervention from the court. This allows you to resolve some of the debts on your own which could save you time and money. With an insolvent estate, however, this usually not permitted. Every transaction will have to be ran through the court costing you more time and money. However, you will have the protection of the court for the entire process which you would not have if you chose to do it on your own.
- If you choose to take the insolvent estate through probate, all of the court and attorney fees are paid out of the estate. This could shirk the estate funds and leave little or even nothing for the creditors. However, if you do it on your own you would have to pay the fees out of pocket.
- Through probate, the court establishes its own timeline which could take years to resolve an insolvent estate and be costly. If you choose to do it on your own, you lose the protection of the court and while you decide when to do each thing, there is no guarantee that it won’t take you just as long.
Gainesville Probate Attorneys for Insolvent Estates
Seeking the help of probate lawyers in Gainesville during an insolvent estate can be very beneficial. If you are entering probate or choosing to take on an insolvent estate on your own, an experienced attorney can ensure the process goes as efficiently as possible and that it complies with the law. Probate can be very complex so it is important to have the representation of someone who understands the laws and procedures. Contact The Law Office of Silverman, Mack & Associates today if you’re in need of a probate law firm Gainesville, FL, residents can trust.