How Do I Start The Probate Process In Florida?

How Do I Start The Probate Process In Florida?

When a loved one passes away, with or without a will, probate is the process used in order to ensure a proper distribution of their assets takes place. Probate makes sure all debts and expenses are paid and that assets are distributed to the beneficiaries of the decedent (the person who passed away). A few examples of what probate assets may include are property, investments, bank accounts, life insurance, or other types of personal property that belonged to the decedent.

If you have recently been affected by the passing of a loved one, you may be wondering how to start the probate process. When you are ready to begin the probate process, the first step after a loved one has passed away would be to contact an attorney. When you speak to an attorney, you can explain the situation to them for individualized advice on your situation. If the decedent had a will, and you were appointed as the personal representative or executor, your duty is to carry out the decedent’s wishes as per what the will entails.

Once your attorney is handling your loved one’s probate case, the attorney will begin filing certain documents with the probate court. A few documents will be needed to begin this process such as a death certificate, the original will if there is one (or a copy of the will), and a list of the beneficiaries. Some of the documents that could be filed with the probate court are a petition for administration, a petition for restricted depository, an oath of personal representative, and much more depending on the needs of your case and whether or not the decedent left a valid will.

Another step to be taken is notifying any creditors the decedent may have had. This document is called a Notice to Creditors. In accordance with Florida Statute 733.2121, “Publication shall be once a week for 2 consecutive weeks, in a newspaper published in the county where the estate is administered or, if there is no newspaper published in the county, in a newspaper of general circulation in that county.” Once the creditors are notified, they only have a certain amount of time to file claims. If there are claims filed, your probate attorney will give you options on how to proceed.

There are certain taxes such as inheritance tax or an estate tax that may be involved as well, and how much you pay in taxes depends on the decedent’s assets. If the property of the decedent was in Florida, it may possibly be exempt from estate tax. There is also a final income tax return that may have to be completed on the behalf of the decedent.

When debts are negotiated or stricken, assets may then be distributed to heirs or beneficiaries. The estate can then move to be closed with certain documents that your attorney will file with the probate court.

If your loved one has passed away, call The Florida Probate & Family Law Firm and get started on the probate process today.

The Florida Probate & Family Law Firm has a team of experienced Probate and Family attorneys located in Coral Gables, Florida. As attorneys who have extensive knowledge in Probate, we understand it can be a time-consuming and complicated process. If you are currently in need of a probate administration, contact us to set up an appointment to evaluate your options. We serve the entire state of Florida so call us at 305-677-5119 or email us at info@flpfl.com.

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