How Does Probate Work When Someone Dies in Florida?
Life comes with a lot of sadness and burdens. This is especially true when a loved one dies. Not only is there the grief that follows, but you will also need to handle their affairs.
This often means going through probate. Probate refers to the court-supervised process of distributing assets according to a person’s last will and testament — that is, if they have one. When a person dies intestate, or without a will, that makes things especially challenging.
Probate can be a time-consuming and lengthy process. The average length of time is six to nine months, but complex estates can take longer than a year. Still, it’s a necessary process to ensure the deceased person’s financial affairs are all in order. Here is a look at Florida’s probate process in more detail.
Probate Process in Florida
How does probate work in Florida? Here are some general steps:
- Submit the will. First, you will need to submit the will to the local court. In Florida, you must do this within 10 days of the person’s death.
- File for probate. Once the court confirms that the will is valid, you will need to file a petition to start the probate process.
- Get authorization from the court. If your petition is approved, the county court will grant you permission to administer the estate.
- Contact beneficiaries. The next step is to let the deceased person’s beneficiaries know that the probate process has started. Anyone who is named in the will is considered a beneficiary. If there is no will, then state law will determine who inherits the person’s assets. The state typically will not take the person’s assets unless there are no heirs.
- Inventory assets. Under state law, you have 60 days to make a list of all of the deceased person’s assets and their values. You will also need to identify any debts, bills, or taxes that need to be paid and submit this information to the court.
- Pay debts. You will use funds from the estate to pay all the debts, bills, and taxes you identified. All these debts must be paid before beneficiaries can receive any assets.
- Distribute assets. After the debts are paid, you will ask the court for permission to distribute the remaining assets to the beneficiaries, according to the will.
- Close the estate. The final step is to petition the court to close out the estate. The probate process is now complete.
Contact Our West Palm Beach Probate Attorney Today
Unfortunately, a death in the family comes with legal issues. Probate can be a frustrating and complex process.
When you have lost a loved one, you want all the support possible. Brian K. McMahon, P.A. is a skilled West Palm Beach probate attorney who can help you navigate the probate process in Florida. Fill out the online form or call (561) 658-1789 to schedule a consultation with our office. We serve the West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Port St. Lucie, and South Florida areas.