You may want to consider executing a deed that creates a life estate for yourself and gives the remainder to your children. This gets you out of probate if that is your objective. I agree with the prior poster, however, that probate could provide you a certain tax advantage. You should consult with an attorney to ferret out what the best option is for you.
Non-pro rata means that beneficiaries don't take equally. The provisions you have provided don't provide enough information to confirm what the testator intends. It may be that the will designates specific devises in other provisions and it was not the testator's intent to divide the estate equally. For example, if he gave one child a 2 acre property, another child a condo, and another child his favorite watch, the will determines what each beneficiary gets but the inheritances are non prorata.
I concur with the prior poster in that your priority should be on the attorney's experience with estate planing and probate as compared to the location of the attorney. In 2012, you can communicate through a variety of media to make the distance a non-factor, if you feel comfortable with the attorney's accessibility to you and the lawyer understands Florida estate planning and trust law, you should be in good stead.
While legally you can enter the dwelling for certain reasons, I would recommend that you proceed with the eviction rather than blow this powder keg. An inspection you do now would not limit the future damage the tenant could do. Better to get her out and give yourself the ability to focus on your short sale. The hostility will not abate if you enter "without her permission."
The landlord can't do an eviction for non-payment of rent. It sounds as if the landlord is trying to circumvent the notice requirement that goes with a termination of tenancy. Make sure you keep a thorough paper trail. Once the case is filed for non-payment, deposit the funds into the court registry. You should consider, however, how long you want to live in a place where you have an adversarial relationship with your landlord.
If you only had an oral agreement, you would have a steeper climb in establishing for a court that a landlord-tenant agreement existed and that you expected to be paid. This is a landlord-tenant matter that I think you should address with a "live" attorney because the details of what transpired during the last year may be significant influences for the trier of fact. Has the person left yet? Why have you allowed them to stay for a year without paying?
Your post suggests you both live in Florida which is the venue of the estate. Do you both live in the same circuit as your mother did? What types of assets are involved? In a very simple estate, I may disagree with my colleagues because much of the probate process can be ceremonial. If, however, you have real property that is going to require management and/or sale, it could get complex and divisive.
I want to make sure that the process you call "submit evidence" is in fact the calling of witnesses. The case and evidence must be established through the presentation of witnesses--direct examination and cross-examination. After all witnesses have been called, the court would typically entertain closing statements. Depending on the complexity of the case, the judge may make an immediate ruling or ask for briefing on some outstanding issues. Ultimately, though, the judge is in control and...
I disagree with my colleagues in some respects because there may be times that a delay in administration actually saves times and money. After two years, an estate can be probate through a summary administration that reduces the cost of the filing fee, the pleadings that must be filed, and the notices that must be published. If the two of you are the only heirs (devisees) of the estate, you are going to have to work together as co-owners of the house or co-sellers of the house. There may be...
The sale doesn't break your lease although the landlord would assign the lease to the buyer. That means the buyer would be your new landlord and have any rights to terminate the lease that the original landlord has. It would seem that time is on your side to consider your alternative options in housing because life can be very difficult if there is disharmony between a landlord and a tenant. If you are looking to fight for the lease, you will need to consult an attorney. I find often that a...