Simplifying The Legal & Administrative Process Of Probate
If you are here to learn Florida probate after the passing of a loved one, we first want to say that we are very sorry for your loss. We hope that the information you find on this page will simplify any legal and administrative headaches you might otherwise face during such a difficult time.
With that said, probate in Florida is a court-supervised procedure that helps to ensure the legal transfer of assets from the deceased to the rightful heirs or beneficiaries. Probate in all across Florida is also necessary to:
Prove the validity of the will
Appoint someone to manage the estate (The “administrator” if there is no will or the “executor/Personal Representative” if there is one)
Inventory and appraise the estate property
Pay any debts or taxes (including estate taxes)
Distribute the property as directed by the will—or by the state law if there is no will
The easiest way to avoid the probate process is to plan; but if you are now in a situation where you must go through probate courts to finalize the estate of a loved one, the best thing you can do is get educated and get help to complete the process as quickly, and cost-effectively, as possible.
When someone dies, they are either intestate (meaning they do not have a Last Will & Testament) or testate (in which case they do have a Will). In either situation, their estate must go through probate. During probate, there is a specific procedure to determine if a Will is valid and if no Will is present the courts will determine the allocation of assets.
Typically, the process of probate causes conflict between loved ones because it is expensive, timely and open to the public. However, there are ways through estate planning that can avoid the probate process.
Frequently Asked Probate Questions
What is the role of a Florida probate attorney?
The job of a Florida probate attorney is to guide the personal representative (also sometimes described as the executor or administrator) through administration of the estate, helping ensure that all technical requirements are met and that the personal representative understands and has the information necessary to carry out his or her responsibilities.
How much does it cost to hire a probate attorney?
How long does probate take?
How long probate takes varies depending on the type of administration and the complexity of the estate. The probate process always takes more than three months, because creditors are allowed 90 days to submit claims. A summary administration—that is, a small estate that is administered informally—may often be completed in four to six months. However, formal administration typically takes several months, and often more than a year. In a particularly complex administration or where issues such as will contests and contests over valuation of property arise, the matter can stretch out for two years or more.
Do I need a Florida probate attorney?
Can probate fees be paid from the estate?
Yes. In fact, costs of administering the estate are the number one priority under Florida law, meaning that they are paid before any other debts or obligations of the estate, and before any assets are distributed to heirs or beneficiaries.
How do you settle an estate without probate?
Who gets paid first from an estate?
What assets are subject to probate?
Assets owned solely in the name of the deceased person are subject to probate. Assets that pass by means of title, such as real estate titled as “Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship,” or bank accounts titled as “Transfer On Death” are not subject to the probate process. Assets that pass by means of a beneficiary designation, such as life insurance or some retirement accounts, are also not subject to probate. In some situations, however, assets that would otherwise pass by title or beneficiary designation can be subject to the probate process. Talk to an attorney if you have questions about your specific situation.
My loved one had a trust…will we need to go through probate?
In most cases, no. If your loved one’s assets are owned in the name of a Trust, the family can contact a lawyer who will complete some paperwork and guide the loved ones through the process with ease without the need for court involvement.
Unfortunately, many people who have a Trust think they have it all taken care of. But time and again, family members’ of a recently passed loved one come into my office and they find out they are facing the frustration, expense and delay of a probate, even though the person they loved had a trust.
Why is that?