An Overview of Probate in Florida
In the wake of a person's death, there will be many matters that need to be addressed and each is of significant importance. The handling of these matters and the processes involved in them is often referred to as probate. Probate is a process supervised by the courts in which the decedent's assets and belongings will be identified and gathered together; the decedent's debts will be paid; and the decedent's assets will be distributed to his or her beneficiaries. Probate is carried out in a very specific order, first using the money collected from an estate to pay off any outstanding debts that may have been left in the decedent's name, and then distributing the remainder to the beneficiaries that survived the decedent.
There are two types of probate under Florida state law: formal administration probate and summary administration probate. Probate is usually conducted under the terms and conditions stipulated in the process of formal administration. In the administration of probate, only assets will be applicable in the dealings conducted. There are very specific belongings that are constituted as assets, and the law states that only the personal belongings of a decedent who owned them in sole at death will be categorized as sets. In some cases, however, co-owned belongings may fall under the category of a probate asset if it lacked the provision of an automatic succession of ownership at the time of death.
Probate a legal method for passing ownership of a decedent's assets to his or her beneficiaries once the decedent has passed. When no will is in place at the time of an individual's death, an
estate planning attorney will be beneficial to help you carry out the legal process of probate. With a legal professional by your side, you can ensure that the probate administrative process is carried out appropriately. Probate is also used as a means to tie up any loose ends concerning the decedent's financial affairs. Under Florida law, probate serves as an assurance that debts will be paid, assets will be distributed, and all legal matters will be effectively brought to a close after a person's passing.
The Probate Process in Florida
It is very likely that a number of individuals - including legal officials, court workers, etc. - will be involved in the probate process. Specifically, it is not uncommon for the following to play a crucial role in matters related to Florida probate cases:
- Personal representative (the executor)
- Circuit court clerk (from the county where the decedent was domiciled at the time of their death)
- Circuit court judge
- Clearwater estate planning attorney
- IRS (if the decedent owed federal income taxes that have yet to be paid)
- Individuals filing claims related to the debts incurred by the decedent (such persons can include the issuer of a credit card or the provider of a healthcare package)
The proceedings of a probate case will begin in the circuit court where papers will be filed with a clerk. A number will be assigned to your case and an on-going record will begin. A circuit court judge will preside over the proceedings, and you should be represented by a legal professional at all times. That is what I am here for. With my help, you can rest assured that all of your legal matters will be overseen by an attorney who will strive to provide you with the personalized attention you deserve. I am here to help with any and all of your legal matters, so I encourage you to call my office today to learn more about how I can be of help when addressing a matter of probate in the state of Florida.