Everyone owns assets during their life, such as bank accounts, real property or investment accounts. When someone passes away owning these types of assets in their own name it becomes part of their estate. Probate is the process of administering the deceased person’s estate by settling their debts and distributing the assets to the beneficiary’s that are entitled to receive them.
If a friend or relative recently passed away in Florida and you need help with administering their estate, then our attorney can help. Contact us today to schedule a strategy session (954) 999-9683.
Probate is a court supervised process of transferring legal ownership and title of the deceased person’s assets to the correct beneficiaries. The beneficiary may be designated in the deceased person’s will or (if they failed to create a will) by Florida statute. Probate in Palm Beach County, Probate in Broward County and Probate in Miami Dade County will all be supervised by a Judge who will ensure that the estate is settled – all debts must be satisfied prior to final distributions being made to the beneficiaries. This includes deducting fees from the estate such as attorneys’ fees and funeral expenses.
If the deceased had a will, then their will would have listed a person to become the personal representative. If there was no will, then the Judge will appoint someone to serve as the personal representative of the estate. The personal representative will file a petition for administration to begin the process. The judge will issue an order appointing the personal representative, letters of administration and an order admitting the will to the probate court (if one existed). The letters of administration will be used to open a bank account in the name of the estate. This account will hold the estate assets for the duration of the probate case.
The personal representative must settle all debts, prepare a final tax return, notify beneficiaries of their inheritance, and create an accounting of all estate assets, expenditures and probate related costs. Once all debts have been settled, the assets may be distributed to the beneficiaries. A probate attorney in Broward County can help assist the personal representative throughout this process. Our experienced attorney has been helping personal representative’s for almost a decade.
Florida probate law seeks to ensure that a will is valid and that the assets are distributed according to its provisions unless the decedent died intestate (without a will). In this situation, the court would appoint an administrator and oversee the probate process to completion.
Generally, there are two ways to accomplish this goal:
This is a more streamlined and cost-effective probate process for estates in Florida. You can use this option under two conditions:
In these cases, state probate courts do not appoint an executor or administrator for the estate but order the property released to the heirs.
Should a decedent’s estate not qualify for a Summary Administration, then a formal probate proceeding will occur. This usually starts with the designated executor in the will approaching the court to be officially appointed. Any beneficiaries or heirs will receive notice of this action and be given time to file any objections they might have.
Once settled, the court will send Letters of Administration to the estate representative, so they have the authority to perform their duties on behalf of the decedent. The court will also determine the validity of the will and then have the executor or administrator gather information on all the assets and then have it all inventoried. This person will also have to pay any debts and remaining taxes on the estate before sending a final accounting to the court. In this report, they will outline how the assets were managed and distributed to the beneficiaries.
Once distributed, a final accounting of distributions is sent to the probate court with a request to close the estate. Once approved, the proceeding is concluded, and the personal representative has fulfilled their duties. On average, a Florida probate process can take up to a year if there are not disputes involved.
Probate can be a difficult process to navigate. It’s time consuming and confusing, but we can help. Our attorney has been helping individuals with their probate cases throughout the state of Florida for almost a decade. Call today to schedule a strategy session. (954) 999-9683
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