Probate Law: Florida Probate Process
Below you will find the basic structure to the Florida Probate process, provided it is uncontested and not litigated.
The Probate process is designed to transfer the assets of the decedent to the beneficiaries and satisfy all creditor claims. The Probate process is supervised by the Probate judge in the county with proper jurisdiction. All documents are filed with the Clerk of Court of that county. The personal representative and attorney do not need to reside in the county of the Probate. The judge will require the estate to be closed within one year unless there are unforeseen issues that arise.
Not all assets of the decedent will pass through Probate. Any asset that was solely owned by the decedent and does not pass upon death or any other operation of law will be subjected to Probate. Examples of assets that would not be subjected to the Florida Probate proceedings are financial accounts jointly held or have a named transfer/payable on death provision, brokerage accounts, retirement accounts and life insurance (as long as it did not lapse to the estate).
Upon the death of the decedent a petition for administration must be filed with Clerk of Court requesting a Probate file be open. The Probate judge must sign an order admitting the will to Probate. If there is no will, then the Florida intestate laws will provided guidance as how to proceed.
Next, the Probate judge will sign an order appointing the personal representative of the estate, and issue “Letters of Administration.” The judge may or may not require the personal representative to post a bond. Upon the issuance of the “Letters of Administration” the personal representative will begin to identify and gather all the assets of the estate. An inventory of the estate assets will need to be filed identifying the assets. The Florida Department of Revenue and Florida Agency for Health Care Administration must be notified of the Probate proceedings.
A notice to creditors must be published in the local newspaper for a period of three months. This is to ensure that all creditors had the chance to come forward and state a claim against the estate. Creditors that do not timely come forward may have their claims barred from recovery. Creditors that have valid claims must be satisfied using the estate assets.
Taxes must be satisfied. The personal representative must file tax returns and satisfy any income or estate tax. The personal representative must defend against any lawsuit against the estate, and pursue any lawsuit for the estate.
After all the proceedings issues have been resolved and all beneficiaries have been identified and noticed, then distribution will occur. An accounting of the estate assets must be filed unless waived by the interested parties. After distributions a petition for discharged will filed to close the estate.
Click here for a free consultation. We will negotiate with our fee and provide you with low affordable fees. Don’t try to go through Probate on your own.
Probate Law Resources
6148 State Road 70
East Bradenton, Florida 34203Telephone: 941-756-6600