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What is Probate (in Florida)?

July 6, 2020

Last Will and TestamentProbate is the legal process of identifying and gathering the assets of a deceased person (“decedent”), paying the decedent’s debts, and distributing the remainder of the decedent’s assets to his or her beneficiaries (either under a valid will or under Florida’s intestacy statute). Generally, probate is required to transfer assets owned in the decedent’s name that lack a provision for automatic succession of ownership at death.

Note: A will does not avoid probate.

The process of probate can be simplified into three steps.

  1. A personal representative is appointed by the court to gather the assets of the decedent.
  2. The personal representative will pay off any valid debts, expenses, and legal obligations which the decedent may have had before he or she died, as well as expenses associated with the probate process.
  3. The personal representative will distribute the remaining assets to the beneficiaries.

The most common probate assets are bank accounts, brokerage accounts, and real estate. Not all assets are considered probate assets. For example, Florida homestead (in certain circumstances), assets titled in the name of a revocable trust, and assets that contain provision for automatic succession of ownership at death (i.e. joint bank account, bank account with a “pay on death” designation, life insurance policy with a designated beneficiary) are not considered probate assets.

Note: Although Florida homestead is not considered a probate asset (in certain circumstances), generally some type of Court proceeding will be required to recognize homestead rights and transfer ownership of the Florida homestead.

If you find yourself needing to administer a probate, it is important that you hire an experienced probate attorney, like the attorneys at Florida Probates. The loss of a loved one is a difficult time, and the probate process can be confusing and burdensome. At Florida Probates, we are committed to minimizing the impact of the probate process on your life and saving you precious time and money. Let us help you through the probate process by contacting us.

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