Nobody wants to find themselves in probate court without the help of an estate probate lawyer. If you recently experienced the death of a family member, dealing with the pain is itself a struggle. Adding the frustrating and complicated probate process on top of your grief can be overwhelming. Probate can be a messy situation but we can clean it up for you.
Probate, or probate administration, is a court process that passes ownership of the decedent’s assets to their family or the beneficiaries listed in their Last Will and Testament (“Will”). If the decedent had a valid Will (under Florida Law), the Will still needs to be admitted to probate court. If the person passed away with no Will, probate administration is necessary to pass assets to the next of kin. If the decedent had a Living Trust, the probate process may be avoided altogether.
The entire probate process can be very confusing and frustrating for individuals who do not know what to do when a loved one passes away. Our best probate attorneys are here to help. Although every family is unique, most probates involve:
- Filing a petition with the probate court in the county that is listed as the last residence on the death certificate.
- Providing notice to all heirs (or anyone who is listed as a beneficiary in the Will).
- Appointing a personal representative (a/k/a personal executor) to administer the estate.
- Tracking down and protecting all estate assets
- Settling debts or claims against the estate
- Distributing assets to the decedent’s beneficiaries
Summary Administration is a shorter court process that bypasses the nomination of a Florida personal representative (known as a personal executor in other states). It is a less expensive and less time consuming process than a formal administration. However, this process is only available if:
- The decedent passed away owning less than $75,000 in assets
- The decedent passed away over 2 years ago
Formal administration is the most common type of court supervised process that distributes one’s assets to either their beneficiaries listed in a Will or their closest living relatives. Alternately if someone passes away with a Will, the court will distribute their assets according to the Will. A formal administration involves 3 stages:
- Nominating a Florida personal representative to oversee the process
- Waiting out a 3 month creditor period wherein creditors and debtors may file their claims
- Administering the estate to the beneficiaries and closing out the court process
Our Wills and probate lawyers can assist you with probating a Will and any assets such as real estate, bank accounts, or financial accounts. If you’re looking for the best probate attorney for your unique situation, OC Estate and Elder Law, P.A. is here to help sort through all of your inheritance issues both in and out of court, with compassion.