Do you know about the process of probate in the state of Florida? When a person passes away without naming an individual as their beneficiary, their assets and estate go through probate.
The primary objective of probate is to recognise, gather, and allocate the deceased’s assets appropriately under the supervision of probate courts. The individual who files for the probate should do so in the same county where the deceased resided. If the deceased is an out-of-state resident who owned Florida real estate, the probate case will be handled in the property’s county.
Probate court includes numerous fees such as
- Attorney fees
- Court fees
- Bond fees
- Representative fees
- And more
Often these fees are covered by the probate assets themselves. The value of the probate generally relies on the estate’s value and overall worth. But it is to be noted that the value can increase through the process of probate litigation.
Various factors can make the probate more expensive than its initial estimation. These include real estate titling issues, numerous creditors, different asset locations, arguing beneficiaries, etc.
What are the Steps for Probate Process in Florida
If the deceased had already nominated an individual, they are, in technicality, the estate’s personal representative. The individual will have to initiate the process of probate by meeting with the Florida Probate Administration Attorney. If not, the interested parties can initiate the process.
This initial appointment includes reviewing essential documents like:
- The original Last Will and Testament
- Real estate deeds
- Financial statements
- Life insurance policies
- Any information about debts owed
Once all the necessary information is collected, and all the appropriate documents are signed and prepared, the attorney will file the required forms with the probate court. They also need to inform all the beneficiaries, which also incorporates the spouse, beneficiaries of any estate and the trustees.
The procedure stays paused til the Florida probate court provides an order and letters of administration, allowing the individual’s representative to create an estate bank account. This is when all the assets and accounts that are in the deceased’s name can go for liquidation. Their proceeds go to the estate bank account.
The representative should ideally publish and issue Creditors Notices to the estate creditors to notify them regarding the probate proceeding and that it is now open. Creditors during this time can file claims with the county probate court. It then depends on the attorney and the representative if the creditor is to be paid or if the claim is to be contested. After this is settled, the representative must compose the final income tax return. This tax return will handle applicable taxes such as estate taxes and more.
After the previous steps are over, the next step includes creating a final distribution plan of the assets and accounting of the estate. This information needs to be shared to obtain approval from all the beneficiaries. If all the beneficiaries approve of the distribution plan, the representative can then proceed to distribute the assets and estates.
During this time, the representatives can also seek approval from the Florida Probate court to be released of any further responsibilities involving the estate. The Florida probate court has the power to conclude the entire probate procedure by discharging the representative, therefore closing the case.
What Is The Duration of The Entire Probate Process?
The entire probate process’s duration relies on the deceased estate’s size and value. The duration of the probate can be as short as three months, that is, only if there were no unpaid creditors or if the value of the property is relatively low. But in cases of larger estates, the entire ordeal can take somewhere from nine months to two years. It all depends on the identification of beneficiaries, negotiations, creditors, and other intricacies that might be involved with the case.
When you come to Hale Law Services for assistance, our skilled estate planning lawyers guide you through the entire process.
Situations That Can Increase The Duration Of The Probate Process:
- If the authenticity of the will is contested
- Income Tax related problems
- If the estate has any form of an ongoing lawsuit
Work with an Experienced and Certified Real Estate Lawyer in Fort Myers
Being nominated as the representative of an estate can be an incredibly overwhelming process. According to Florida Law, the nominated individual must hire an attorney to work alongside them. The attorney will give you the necessary legal advice you need and will be present during the probate case hearings.
When you work with an experienced estate planning lawyer or lawyers who specialise in probate-related cases, you can sail through the entire process. Understanding and having an experienced guide beside you can impact the entire process.
We at Hale Law Services have some of the most qualified estate planning and real estate lawyers in Fort Myers equipped to handle any probate case. To learn more about us, contact us at 239-931-6767 or drop us a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.