What Is The Probate Process In Florida?
The probate process in Florida is very similar to most other states. If a person passes away with a will or they pass away intestate, an estate is opened up in probate court. What goes on in probate court is, typically, a personal representative is appointed. It will be appointed based upon who you name in your will. If not, the court will appoint one based upon essentially a tree of your closest living relatives. If you have a spouse, your spouse will usually be named. If your spouse has predeceased you, it will be one of your children. If they’re not there, it will then go to one of your siblings. The probate court determines who the heirs are in the estate, who will be receiving your assets.
Then, they want to determine who the creditors are and determine all of the assets. All of this information is gathered and creditors are notified. If there aren’t any disputes regarding payment to creditors, the estate will be distributed based upon the orders of the court to the beneficiaries. Probate can become a long process when you’re trying to find assets or when you have assets but they may have liens. If you have a very large estate and there was no planning done, probate can go for as long as 10 years.
Does Everyone’s Estate Have To Go Through Probate?
If proper planning is in place, probate can be completely avoided. We like to make sure that we have our planning in place, so we know all of our assets are going to pass outside of probate and we can maintain our privacy. We can allow the people we want to be in charge of our estate to be in charge. There’s also a second situation where if an estate is under $15,000 in Florida, the people who are set to inherit the money can use an affidavit process to get those funds without going through probate.
How Long Does The Probate Process Generally Take?
Typically, you’re looking at seven months to a year to complete a probate. It can always drag out longer if there are disputes between beneficiaries or disputes between creditors and the estate.
Can Someone Realistically Handle A Probate On Their Own Without An Attorney?
It’s not realistic to think that anyone can handle a probate case on their own. There are rules that are set into place so that everyone’s rights are protected. Tripping up on those can cause extra expense and can cause the probate process to take longer. You’re better off hiring a professional. Typically, it will save you money in the long run.
Additional Information On Probate In Florida
Not all probate issues necessarily have to do with after-death probate. There are also things like guardianships and conservatorships. We have a parent or a relative who has gotten into a situation where they’re mentally incapacitated. They can’t handle their own financial affairs and they can’t take care of themselves, physically. In those instances, the probate court makes determinations as to how they should be cared for, who should be caring for them, and things of that nature. Those proceedings can be contested. Sometimes, in probate court, you will have breach of contract actions between the estate and a third party. Any sort of other types of litigation that could have gone on in traditional court could go on in probate court, if it involves the estate.
For more information on Probate Process In The State Of Florida, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (941) 706-0632 today.
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