ProbateWhat Is Probate?

Probate is the court making sure that your wishes are followed out if you had a will or trust. It doesn’t need to be feared, just properly planned for. It is the steps in the legal process of administering the estate of a deceased person. It is the process of “proving” the will is valid and proceeding with the distribution of assets.

When It Comes To Probate, What Is Unique About Florida?

Florida requires the decedent to have an attorney and a personal representative. The personal representative must be either a Florida resident or a relative of the decedent. There are plenty more Florida specific rules your attorney can help you with.

Who Is Responsible For Handling Probate?

In most cases, the executor named in the will takes the responsibility of handling probate. In the event that either there is no will or no named executor, the courts then appoint an administrator. Most of the time, this job goes to the closest capable relative or the person inheriting the bulk of the estate. In Florida, the executor or administrator is called a Personal Representative.

What Does A Personal Representative Do?

A personal representative has the responsibility of paying debts of the estate, filing a final income tax return, and distributing property of the estate according to the wishes of the deceased. If there is any real estate in the will, it has to be re-titled appropriately.

What Does Probate Cost?

Depends. Costs of probate include things like court costs, and fees for personal representatives, attorneys, accounting, appraisals and business valuations, bond fees and other miscellaneous expenses. All total they can amount to as much as 3-8% of your assets. Proper estate planning utilizing suitable documents can reduce these expenses, preserving more of the estate for the beneficiaries.

How Long Will Probate Take?

There are many variables to this question. Many documents require an original signature of the Personal Representative, so if this person lives a distance away, technical delays are inevitable. The more beneficiaries involved, the longer it takes to execute paperwork. If there are any disagreements or contesting of the will, the longer it takes. The more complicated the estate, the longer it takes. If a will is written correctly and nothing else is standing in the way, probate can be over in as little as 100 days. Consult a good estate planning attorney to discuss your unique situation.