Deciding if a Florida estate should go through probate or not is not always obvious. When determining if a will needs to go through this process, besides being submitted to the local circuit court, consider some of the following situations that would warrant beginning a probate proceeding:
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.
Trying to determine what estate plan strategy will provide the most effective asset protection and provide the most straightforward probate process for your loved ones. You may decide that you want to avoid this frustration altogether and learn more about what trust options are available to you.
The Legacy Law Firm has years of experience helping families and businesses throughout the Sunshine State create multi-generational trusts and legacies their loved ones need. We help you make informed decisions to ensure you avoid common pitfalls that can subject your loved ones to drawn-out probate proceedings that are costly and delay estate distribution. Call us today at (954) 999-9683 or contact us online to discuss your unique situation, learn more, and get started.
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