Probate is the process in which an instrument, such as a purported will, is determined to be, in fact, the properly executed last will and testament of a deceased person, or “decedent.” If a person dies without a will, then their assets are still subject to a probate proceeding wherein the heirs are determined by a court, property is distributed, among other things, in accordance with Chapter 732, Florida Statutes.
Simply put, the probate process involves the winding-up the decedent’s affairs, such as paying funeral expenses, taxes, ascertaining and paying-off creditors, and distributing property to beneficiaries and heirs. This process is done through a court proceeding by a personal representative named in your will, or if you die without a will, then by an administrator appointed by the court.
In Florida, there are two kinds of probate processes, namely, Formal Probate and Small Estates. If you die leaving more than $1,000 in assets, but less than $75,000, the process can be done relatively quickly through the process known as Summary Administration. Formal Probate, on the other hand, takes longer and is more complicated. In fact, the personal representative is required to have an attorney to represent him or her in probating an estate where the value of which is in excess of $75,000. This is because there are many deadlines, complicated situations and issues that arise during the formal process that are novel and unfamiliar to a non-lawyer.
If a loved one has passed away, feel free to give us a call. As always, our consultations are free.
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Mindrup & Samole, PLLC