The law firm answer…..it depends. Did mom leave written signed instructions? If she did, her personal property will be distributed according to her wishes. But if she did not let her wishes be known in a comprehensive estate plan, there could be dissention among the heirs.
The answer is NO. When a person dies leaving a Will and/or Trust, the nominated Personal Representative or Successor Trustee is not obligated to use the attorney who prepared the documents to administer the estate and/or trust.
Probate is often thought of as a process that is best avoided. There certainly are situations in which probate is not necessary, but it is surprising for some to learn there are benefits which can only be gained by engaging in the probate process. In most cases, probate is an easy and straightforward process.
The scenario: Hank and Janice were married, had a daughter together, Elsie, and then got divorced. Hank died intestate, without a will, so pursuant to Florida law, Elsie was the beneficiary of his estate.
Bob and Kate are an unmarried couple, neither of whom have children, and who live together in a home owned by Bob, individually. Let’s say Bob dies. The good news is he has a signed will. The bad news is he prepared the will himself, without consulting an attorney. The will leaves his home to Kate, who intends to continue living there just as she has for many years.