Process of Florida Probate
A process of Florida probate lawyer can help you when you are confused about putting together your own estate plan or when someone you know has passed away and you are now responsible for assisting with their estate administration. There are three primary ways to settle an estate in Florida. Some assets do not go through probate but most people who take no planning opportunities will have some assets that go through the probate process.
For these individuals, they need a Florida probate process attorney to help them. A probate process attorney in Florida will be able to answer critical questions as the probate administration process unfolds and may be able to help vested stakeholders avoid many of the most common problems and issues.
Formal administration or regular probate is a process through which many estates in Florida go through. If an estate does not qualify for a more streamlined method of administration, formal probate may be required. These proceedings can occur when an executor asks a circuit court to be appointed as the personal representative of the estate.
Typically, the probate proceeding will occur in the county in which the deceased individual was living at the time of his or her death. Usually any person who would have a chance to inherit an absence of a legal will would be given notice. These individuals are named as beneficiaries and heirs and this would get them the chance to object. Following this point, the court will issue a document referred to as letters of administration.
This gives the personal representative the authority to close out the estate. In the event that there is a will, it is not enough to simply suggest that the will is in existence. Instead, the will has to be filed with the court and proven valid. This is only done by using witnesses to the will provide a statement under oath surrounding the validity. If the will is self-proving, showing that it was put together with the guidance of an experienced estate planning attorney in Florida, then it can be enough to submit the document itself.
A will can only be self-proving if the witnesses signed a statement in front of a notary public and watched the will maker sign the will personally. A personal representative will then be responsible for gathering and listing all assets. Prior to distributing any of these assets to the intended beneficiaries, the personal representative needs to pay taxes and debts and then distributes what is left to the people who will be able to inherit it.
Personal representatives have to send in a final version of accounting for the court indicating what was included in the estate, how those estates have been handled and the plan of distribution to the beneficiaries. Any person who objects to the accounting as it occurs under the fiduciary responsibilities of the personal representative can object in court. The personal representative will then complete the process of distributing everything. Following this point, the representative has to file receipts with the court and officially ask for the estate to be closed. Usually the court should issue a direct order, finishing out the estate and relieving that personal representative of any further responsibilities. The time it takes to complete a Florida probate from beginning to end can vary based on the complexity of the case, however, it usually takes six months to a year to be completed. Consulting with a Florida probate process lawyer can be extremely helpful.
You need to know what to anticipate and how to avoid common mistakes- set up a consultation as soon as possible.