What are the Rules for Probate in Florida?
When a loved one dies, you may be tasked with handling their estate. Unless their assets are in a trust, you will have to go through the probate process. An estate is required to go through the probate process if there was no will and all the assets were only in the name of the decedent.
Probate is a court-supervised process for identifying the assets of a deceased person. The executor distributes the decedent’s assets after paying for funeral expenses and any outstanding debts.
The probate process in Florida involves many rules, which are laid out here. If you have a copy of the will and are named the executor, you have 10 days to notify the court of the decedent’s death. If a family member dies without a will, an heir must go to court and obtain “Letters of Administration” to allow a relative to serve as the personal representative. This person has the authority to settle all matters regarding the decedent’s estate.
Probate serves several purposes. It transfers ownership of the decedent’s probate assets to their beneficiaries. If the decedent had no will, probate would be necessary to pass ownership of their assets to those receiving them under Florida law. Also, probate might be necessary to wind up the decedent’s financial affairs and ensure creditors are paid.
There are three types of probate in Florida:
- Formal administration. This is the most common type of probate. It takes place in the circuit court of the county where the decedent lived at the time of their death, not necessarily where they died. The executor of the decedent’s will requests to be appointed as the estate’s personal representative. The beneficiaries will receive notice of probate and have the ability to formally object.
- Summary administration. This type of probate is used when the value of the estate is under $75,000. Summary administration is also used when the estate is for someone who died more than two years before filing, which often happens in missing persons cases. The Petition for Summary Administration must be signed by a surviving spouse or beneficiaries.
- Disposition without administration. Disposition without administration occurs when the value of the decedent’s assets is valued to be worth less than the final funeral expenses. To initiate this type of probate, you must file the Disposition of Personal Property Without Administration form with the court.
Contact Our West Palm Beach Probate Process Attorneys Today
Probate is required if a person dies with assets. Probate can be avoided if assets are held in a trust, but this is not common.
There are a lot of legal issues involved when a person dies. It may be difficult to handle these issues when you’re already dealing with grief from your loved one’s death.
Brian K. McMahon, P.A. is a West Palm Beach probate attorney who can guide you through the process and ensure your legal rights are protected. Schedule a consultation today by calling (561) 658-1789 or filling out the online form. We serve the West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Port St. Lucie, and South Florida areas.