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Upon the death of a Florida resident, the estate would have to be settled in accordance with the deceased’s wishes so that title passes to the intended beneficiaries. Probate is the process whereby the assets of the deceased’s estate are identified, debts and obligations are paid and then the remainder is given to the beneficiaries identified in a will. Where the deceased died intestate (without a will), Florida law will apply in determining the distribution of the estate.
Losing a loved one is a painful and difficult experience and having to deal with your loved one’s estate can be stressful. Unfortunately, under Florida law, the probate process is something one has to deal with unless the assets of the deceased fall under the following categories:
- payable or transferable on death assets such as Life Insurance.
- assets jointly owned with surviving spouse such as a house.
- assets owned in joint tenancy with right of survivorship.
- assets held in a living trust.
- the value of the deceased’s estate qualifies as a “small estate”.
In other circumstances, the estate would have to go through probate.
In Florida, the probate process can either be formal or summary and this usually depends on the nature of the estate. The summary administration process is shorter and is available if:
- The deceased has been dead for over 2 years.
- The value of the probate estate is not more than $75, 000.
The probate process is open to disputes. From creditors making claims on outstanding debts, to individuals claiming a right to a part of the estate. Where the deceased left a will, there may be objections to the interpretation of the will and where the deceased failed to leave a will, there may be issues surrounding the identification of the beneficiaries in the will.
Where the deceased named a personal representative in a will, the court appoints the named representative to administer the estate. Where there is no will or the will fails to name a representative, the court appoints a representative. Florida law requires the personal representative to appoint a qualified attorney to assist in the administration of the deceased’s estate. The attorney advises the representative of the rights and duties required under Florida Law.
Our Miami Probate Lawyer has vast experience advising on probate matters. Our clients include personal representatives as well as creditors who have a claim against an estate and persons who believe they should be beneficiaries of the estate. We offer free consultations and would be delighted to discuss your case with you. If you would like to schedule an appointment, please call us at (305) 652-7777.