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May 3, 2022

What is Florida Probate?

Florida probate is the court-supervised process of settling a decedent’s estate.  There are a few terms that are commonly used in probate proceedings. These terms should be explained before going into the process of probate.

  • Probate is the court-supervised process of settling a decedent’s estate. Florida Statutes 733 defines probate as “all matters and proceedings pertaining to the administration, settlement, and distribution of estates of deceased persons.” It includes intestacy (dying without a will), testacy (dying with a will), and ancillary administration (where an out-of-state resident died owning real estate in Florida).
  • A decedent is someone who has died. The term “decedent” often replaces “deceased person” when referring to legal proceedings or actions after death.
  • An estate can include any property that you own when you die, including real property such as your house, personal property such as jewelry or collectibles, bank accounts, investments, life insurance policies with cash value that are payable upon death, and other assets.
  • If a person dies intestate, meaning without a last will and testament, then the laws of intestacy will determine who inherits the property.
  • If a person dies testate then their legal document (their will or trust) will control how the assets are distributed.
  • The personal representative may be an individual or an institution such as a bank or other trust company.  The personal representative has a fiduciary duty to the estate. This means that a trustee or other fiduciary must manage and control property in good faith and solely in interest of those who have an legal right to that property. The beneficiaries have the right to seek redress if they believe you are violating your fiduciary duty.

Probate can be a time-consuming and costly process, but with careful planning you may be able to minimize the time, expense and hassle for your loved ones after you’re gone. If you have found yourself in a situation where you may need an experienced probate attorney by your side, then we can help. Give us a call today to discuss your case – (954) 999-9683.