What Are Florida Probate Rules?
When a person dies, then their estate will likely go through probate, unless they had a trust. Probate is a court-supervised process for identifying a deceased person’s assets, distributing these assets to beneficiaries, and paying debts.
Probate is necessary even if a person has a will. It is required to complete the deceased person’s financial affairs after death and ensure creditors are paid. Probate can last at least six to 12 months, especially if there are disputes, which often occur.
Not all assets go through probate. Some exceptions include:
- Property shared through joint tenancy
- Assets held in a living trust
- Retirement accounts
- Life insurance policies
Probate requires a personal representative, or executor, to handle the deceased person’s estate. This job requires a lot of responsibility, as Florida’s probate process includes numerous laws and deadlines. If you are named the executor, you have just 10 days to notify the court of the decedent’s death, so you need to be organized and act quickly. You will have many other duties as well, such as mailing notices to all beneficiaries and providing written notice to creditors.
The executor must also account for all assets within the estate. After all assets in the estate are accounted for, notice will be given to creditors, who have 30 days to file a dispute. After these 30 days, the probate court will hold a final hearing. After accounting has concluded, the executor will file a final petition for discharge of the estate. Once all assets are distributed and all debts have been handled, the court enters an order to close the estate.
Being an executor is not an easy task, especially when they are not familiar with the process. Since there are legal requirements involved, it is a good idea to contact an experienced west palm beach probate attorney for guidance.
Inheritance Laws Without a Will
If a family member dies without a will, an heir must go to court and obtain Letters of Administration. The probate court then assigns a relative to serve as the personal representative.
Without a will, things get even more complicated. Inheritances are based on Florida Statute Sections 732.102 and 732.103. If the deceased is married when they die, then the estate goes to the surviving spouse. If the person was not married but had children, the estate would be split equally among the children. If they were not married and had no children, then the estate would be split among any surviving parents. If there are no parents, then the estate would be split among any siblings. If there are none, then next in line would be grandparents, then aunts and uncles, then any surviving relatives.
Contact a West Palm Beach Probate Attorney Today
Probate can be a lengthy and costly process. It is important to know the rules involved so you know what to expect.
Get the right legal advice from Brian K. McMahon, P.A. He is a skilled West Palm Beach probate attorney who can guide you in the right direction during this difficult time. Call (561) 658-1789 or fill out the online form to schedule a consultation. We serve the West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Port St. Lucie, and South Florida areas.