The loss of a loved one is always difficult. Often there is an overwhelming feeling of grief, and many people find it hard to focus on probating the person’s assets. Our Florida probate attorney can help with your probate administration wherever it is filed in Florida. When you’re ready, call THE LAW OFFICE OF GARY M. LANDAU, P.A. to schedule a consultation at no cost to you.
In Florida, probate is the term for the process of distributing all the assets of a person who has passed away. The system involves the courts, a judge, and many legal documents, and usually unfolds over a period of months or longer.
1.Understanding Probate and Florida Probate Law
Probate is a process that:
- Identifies and gathers the deceased person’s assets (known in the law as the decedent)
- Pays the decedent’s debts, including medical and funeral expenses, and anything else the person owes, using the money from the estate.
- Distributes the remaining decedent’s assets to the beneficiaries according to the person’s will or, if there is no valid will, Florida state law.
In Florida, the courts supervise this process.
There are two main types of probate administration in Florida:
1.Formal Administration – Probate when the decedent has been dead for less than two years and the estate’s value exceeds $75,000.
2.Summary Administration – Probate when the decedent has been deceased for more than two years or the estate’s value is less than $75,000
2.What Does Florida Consider Probable Assets?
Not everything a deceased person owned is considered a probate asset by the courts. Assets like a bank account jointly held with another person do not go through probate. Neither does life insurance or accounts that have a named beneficiary.
Assets that do need to be probated include, but are not limited to, the following:
- A bank account or investment account in the sole name of a decedent.
- A life insurance policy, annuity contract, or individual retirement account that specifies it is made payable to the decedent’s estate
- Real estate owned in the sole name of the decedent, or property owned along with others as “tenants in common.”
3.Why Must I Go Through Probate?
Probate is a necessary legal process to properly distribute the decedent’s assets to their beneficiaries. In this process, the probate judge makes sure all steps are correctly taken, from submitting a valid will to the court to notifying all heirs and creditors, to accounting for all assets and having them distributed. Without probate, assets in a person’s name could not legally be transmitted to another person, even if they are the deceased’s sole living relative.
4.What Are Florida’s Requirements for a Will?
According to state law, the judge in a probate court checks to ensure that the will submitted in probate is valid. Florida has several formal requirements that make a will legal. They include:
- The person who signed the will must be at least 18 years old.
- The person who signed the will must be of sound mind at the time of the signing.
- The will must be written down.
- The will must be witnessed by two people and, ideally, notarized.
5.What to Do If There Is No Will
When someone passes away without an estate plan or will, the state of Florida has to determine who the heirs of the estate are and who will inherit the person’s assets, according to what is known as intestacy law. The state has created a formula to do this:
- If there is a surviving spouse and no children or grandchildren, the spouse gets 100%.
- If there are children but no spouse, the children get 100%.
- If there is a spouse and children, the state takes into account the following items:
- Are the children also children of the surviving spouse?
- Does the surviving spouse have other children with a different partner?
- Is any real estate a homesteaded property?
You can avoid the complication of having the state make these decisions by drafting a valid will while you are alive and of sound mind.
Questions About Probate in Florida? Contact the LAW OFFICE OF GARY M. LANDAU, P.A.
Experienced probate lawyers make the process easier by guiding you through the steps to getting the creditors paid and the person’s assets distributed. We are committed to providing you a positive experience while seamlessly handling the meticulous details that are part of the probate process.
The LAW OFFICE OF GARY M. LANDAU, P.A., located in Coral Springs, Florida, in Broward County, has been handling probate estates all across Florida for many years. Attorney Gary Landau has been a probate lawyer for decades. He and his experienced paralegals are intimately familiar with everything that might come up during the probate process in every county in the state
Call to schedule a consultation at no cost to you at 954-979-6566. We can work with you in person, over the phone, or by Zoom.
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