Florida Probate Statute 733.802: Proceedings for Compulsory Payment of Devises or Distributive Interest
While beneficiaries and heirs of an estate may be anxious for asset distribution, before a personal representative can distribute assets, certain procedures and processes must be followed to comply with the Florida Probate Code. Typically all debts must be paid first. This means that distributions are not made early in the administration process, but several months after the administration process has begun. Whether you are a personal representative, beneficiary, creditor, or other interested party, to learn more about the process for paying estate debts and distributing assets during the estate administration process, including the requirements of Florida Statutes, section 733.802- Proceedings for compulsory payment of devises or distributive interest, contact a skilled Fort Lauderdale probate lawyer at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates. We have over 2 decades of experience representing clients in complex estate administration matters, including in matters related to the transfer of assets. We can help.Role of the Personal Representative
The personal representative is the person or company appointed by the Florida Probate Court to perform the necessary activities to settle a decedent’s estate. If the decedent died testate, typically the decedent would have nominated someone in his will to serve as personal representative. Whether the decedent nominated someone or did not, in order to serve as personal representative, the person or company must be qualified and approved by the court.
Once the personal representative has received letters of administration authorizing him (or her) to serve, he can move forward with the activities required to settle the estate. First he must inventory the assets of the estate. This is necessary so that the personal representative knows how much the estate is worth in order to know if there are sufficient assets to pay debt and make distributions. Then the personal representative must notify creditors and give them the opportunity to file claims. The personal representative is required to pay claims that are valid and timely filed. Claims and estate expenses are paid from estate assets. Thus, a skilled Fort Lauderdale probate lawyer can explain, estate debt can be paid only to the extent that there are sufficient assets in the estate. In the absence of neglect or malfeasance on the part of the personal representative, he or she is not personally liable to pay estate debt.Distribution of Estate Assets
Once debts and expenses are paid, the personal representative can begin the process of distributing assets to the decedent’s beneficiaries or heirs. In fact, the personal representative is not required to make distributions before the expiration of 5 months from the time that he or she was granted letters of administration, and has up to a year to make distributions.
Only assets that are part of the decedent’s probate estate are subject to the rules related to asset distribution during a probate proceeding. Probate assets include items individually owned by the decedent such as clothing, furniture, appliances, vehicles, jewelry, collectibles, real estate, and bank accounts. Property that is not probate property includes property that has a designated beneficiary such as IRAs, 401(k) plans, and other types of retirement accounts. Real estate that the decedent owned as a joint tenant is not probate property, nor are financial accounts which have pay-on-death or transfer-on-death designations.Proceedings for Compulsory Payment of Devises or Distributive Interest
Under FL. Stat, section 733.802- Proceedings for compulsory payment of devises or distributive interest, there are additional rules related to distribution from a probate estate. For example, the personal representative is not required to pay a cash distribution before the final settlement of the personal representative’s accounts. The personal representative is also not required to transfer specific personal property devised, To pay a distributive share in the personal estate of a decedent, or to surrender land to any beneficiary.
To learn more about the requirements related to the proceedings for compulsory payment of devises or distributive interest, discuss your questions with an experienced probate lawyer in Fort Lauderdale.Related Statutory Provisions
- Delivery of devises and distributive shares: § 733.801, Fla. Stat.
- Order in which assets abate: § 733.805, Fla. Stat.
- Death benefits; disposition of proceeds: § 733.808, Fla. Stat.
- Before final distribution, no personal representative shall be compelled:
- To pay a devise in money before the final settlement of the personal representative’s accounts,
- To deliver specific personal property devised, unless the personal property is exempt personal property,
- To pay all or any part of a distributive share in the personal estate of a decedent, or
- To surrender land to any beneficiary,
unless the beneficiary establishes that the property will not be required for the payment of debts, family allowance, estate and inheritance taxes, claims, elective share of the surviving spouse, charges, or expenses of administration or to provide funds for contribution or to enforce equalization in case of advancements.
- An order directing the surrender of real property or the delivery of personal property by the personal representative to the beneficiary shall be conclusive in favor of bona fide purchasers for value from the beneficiary or distributee as against the personal representative and all other persons claiming by, through, under, or against the decedent or the decedent’s estate.
- If the administration of the estate has not been completed before the entry of an order of partial distribution, the court may require the person entitled to distribution to give a bond with sureties as prescribed in s. 45.011, conditioned on the making of due contribution for the payment of devises, family allowance, estate and inheritance taxes, claims, elective share of the spouse, charges, expenses of administration, and equalization in case of advancements, plus any interest on them.
Understandably, family and friends of a decedent who expect to receive distributions from his (or her) estate based on the terms of the will or the requirements of Florida Probate Code, are anxious to receive their distributions. However, the personal representative must follow proper procedure before he can transfer property. If you have questions or concerns related to asset distribution or any other aspect of the estate administration process, including the requirements of Florida Probate Code, section 733.802- Proceedings for compulsory payment of devises or distributive interest, the experienced probate attorneys serving Fort Lauderdale at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates can help. Contact us attorneys at 561-710-4000 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case.