The Probate Process┃How to Avoid Getting Scammed

Probate is considered a simple process of administering a decedent’s estate. But, many of us have heard headache-filled stories detailing how long and tedious the probate process ends up being.

The reality is both. When done right the probate process for a house in Miami is simple and quick. But, done wrong, it can feel like a lifetime.

Unfortunately, the conflict here between whether it’s a quick and simple process or a complicated procedure often leaves homeowners open to certain probate scams.

Don’t Get Scammed In Miami!

probate process for a house in
Probate Process for a House in Miami

Without the right kind of trust in place, probate usually follows a person’s passing.

Probate is the term for a legal process in which a will is reviewed to determine whether it is valid and authentic. Probate also refers to the general administering of a deceased person’s will or the estate of a deceased person without a will.

Investopedia.com

Typically, the probate process follows these four steps.

STEP 1

The first step involves filing a petition with the probate court to admit the will and appoint an executor. Alternatively, if there is no will, an administrator of the estate will be appointed. A hearing date is set, and notice of the hearing will be published locally.

STEP 2

Once appointed by the court, the decedent’s personal representative will give notice to all creditors, and an inventory of the entire estate will be drawn up.

STEP 3

After determining which claims are legitimate, the personal representative will cover all expenses, debts, and taxes from the estate. Sometimes, this can involve selling estate assets to meet obligations.

STEP 4

Assets – the legal title to a house for instance – are disbursed according to the deceased individuals’ wishes either expressed in the will or, in situations where there is no will, according to the state’s intestate succession laws.

And that’s all there is to it! The probate process for a house in Miami and for the entire estate as well can be summarised in just four steps. Now, let’s discuss the types of scams that can pop up along the way.

Common Probate Scams

The following scams are basically the same old scams with a bit of flair that owe their re-invention primarily to the Internet and email. However, regardless of where the originate from, and what tactics they employ, they always target the vulnerable.

Probate Avoidance Scam 

The perpetrators of this scam usually target the elderly. It involves persuading victims to buy fraudulent products that will help them avoid probate.

For instance, a very expensive living trust kit. However, once the monies been handed over the to the scammers, they either never deliver on what they promised or provide a product that is legally useless.

Inheritance/Estate Tax Scam 

Some states still levy an inheritance or estate tax. Using a trusted person’s or organization’s name, scammers can contact potential executors/personal representatives. They then inform them that they could inherit a ton of money.

But there’s obviously a catch. Here the scam hides behind believable tax laws. In these states since the tax must be paid before probate can go forward, the victims are persuaded to first send the scammers an inflated tax payout before any inheritance has been received.

Fraudulent Listings Scam

This one owes its effectiveness to popular sites like Craigslist and applies particularly to the probate process for houses in Miami. Many buyers are looking online to find properties and this scam targets individuals looking for rental properties.

Scammers look for properties belonging to recently deceased individuals and advertise them for rent. The scammers then collect a deposit and one month’s rent upfront before disappearing, leaving the people dealing with probate an upset and angry “tenant” to sort out.

If you’re facing probate, don’t panic! It’s never as ominous or frightening as it first seems. Knowing what’s involved and being aware of common probate scams is the first step – but there’s more to consider.

Would you like to learn more about probate and how to get through it smoothly?
Then call our office at (305) 916-3328. A member of our team would love to speak with you.
Or, click here to fill out our short form. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible!

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David Veras

David Veras was born in Hialeah, Florida and has been involved in Real Estate since February 2019.

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