Florida Wills and Probate

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“Probate is the most important step in administrating estates in Florida. If someone dies, whether or not there is a will, the Probate must divide assets and perform all other tasks to end the estate formally. The state of Florida has two main kinds of Probate, “formal administration” and “summary administration,” and there is a third kind, known as “ancillary administration,” that is utilized when the deceased had property in Florida but was not a Florida resident.”

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Florida Wills and Probate

Florida statutes require the assistance of a probate attorney or an individual representative (executor) during the probate court procedure for all but the most basic wills and estates. A will is an important document that is the legacy of your loved one. Probation is a complicated process. It needs a deep understanding to protect the testator’s wishes. Working closely with a skilled Florida Wills and Probate lawyer is best to achieve this goal.


The Purpose of Probate

Probate is a lawful procedure that confirms the deceased’s Will and allocates assets to the beneficiaries. To settle someone’s estate, you must gather information about their property, debts, and will. Then, you appraise the property, pay off debts, and distribute assets as stated in the Will. The probate court handles this, while the executor appointed by the deceased carries out their duties. In addition, Probate involves assessing estate tax or inheritance due and paying any estate claims.

Probate is only sometimes an option, even with a valid will. We ensure the safeguarding of everyone involved by assigning assets according to the law. Also, the probate process ensures that all potential inheritors can present their claims and have what is theirs legally.


Florida Probate Law

Probate is required to give ownership of the property of the estate decedent to beneficiaries. If the decedent made the will legally, it is not sufficient to transfer title to probate assets over to beneficiaries named in the will of the deceased until the will has been accepted for probate by the court.

In Florida, if the deceased had no will, a probate proceeding is required to transfer the ownership of probate assets of the deceased to those identified as the beneficiaries.


What is a Valid Will in Florida?

In the event of their death, a deceased individual determines who will inherit their estate through written documents called wills. According to Florida law, the testator (the person writing the Will) and two witnesses must execute it for it to be legally binding. The testator must sign the Will in front of witnesses or inform them that they had previously made the Will. The witnesses must sign in front of each other and front of the executor.

You do not need to notarize a will to be legally valid. However, notarized wills are preferable because they are less challenging to present to the probate courts. A notarized will is often referred to as a “self-proved will.” If a will is not notarized, the person who witnesses it must go to the probate court and confirm that they have seen it. You only need the witness statement if a will has been notarized. It is, therefore, the best practice that will be notarized as often as possible.


Florida Wills and Probate Law

The property of deceased beneficiaries requires Probate to transfer ownership. Suppose the dead person had a valid will. You must wait for the Court to accept the Will to transfer the title to probate assets.

If someone in Florida dies without a will, Probate is necessary to transfer their assets to the designated beneficiaries.

Various types of Probate are legal under the laws of Florida, including:


1. Formal administration

Probate administration in formal form is available in the local County Circuit Court where the decedent resided when he died.

The formal procedure begins with appointing the personal representative, or executor, whose primary duties are to determine the assets and obligations of the estate, make payments to creditors as necessary, and then transfer the remainder of the funds to the proper beneficiaries.


2. Summary of administration

Summary administration is available if the probate assets amount to less than $75,000 or the deceased person has died for over two years. This is the cheapest and quickest version of Probate designed to speed up the process of administering Probate for eligible estates.


3. Disposition with no administration

This usually means skipping the probate hearing entirely because of certain circumstances.

It is important to note that this option is only available if the deceased person has not left any real estate and the assets offered for probation are worth less than the amount paid after the probation costs.


Florida Will Probate The Assets Owned By A Deceased Person.

One exception is if the property has an identified beneficiary or right of survivorship. You can name a property as a beneficiary, like a life insurance payout or retirement account. You can also choose a banking account with a “pay on death” designation.


Florida Will Probate The Assets Owned By A Deceased Person.


Real estate is an excellent example of a property with rights of survivorship. With this agreement, the co-owner who outlives the other gets full ownership when they pass away. In Florida, when a couple buys a property, the wife also has survivorship rights, even if it’s not mentioned on the deed. They call this type of survivorship “tenancy by the entirety.”

It only needs the husband and wife to hold the title. In that case, the title will automatically pass to the survivor following the death of one spouse. The asset requires Probate to transfer ownership if no survivor or beneficiary is named. This procedure is commonly used for bank accounts, real estate, cars, and personal belongings.

The institution with it must be reachable to see if your account can go through Probate. An attorney should check the property deed to determine if the real estate needs Probate.


Is Probate required if there is a Will in Florida?

As we discussed earlier, when someone submits a valid Will before the courts, it’s often necessary to follow the probate path. According to Florida law, if there is no Will, the situation is the death of an “intestate.” To distribute the deceased’s wealth, someone must conduct Probate.

The spouse, who is the surviving one, could be the sole beneficiary if there are no children. But if there are children, things become very complicated. Managing estates of decedents who have third or second marriages, step-children, blended families, and so on can be incredibly difficult, to put it simply. As you’d imagine, many people want to implement ways to avoid a complicated probate procedure.

Having the right Will sometimes avoids Probate, but it often makes things easier. This can help families when loved ones die. It avoids long legal battles and lets them divide their estate as they want, not how the state or Court wants. When a person dies in Florida, they must register all original Wills with the Court.

You must complete the filing within ten days of the decedent’s death to place the Will in the hands of the judge. It is important to note that this procedure is entirely distinct from Probate. If you have made a valid Will, you must seek out Probate, which will take time.


In Florida, Under Which Circumstances Should a Will be Probated?

In a few instances, requiring probate wills in Florida can prove very beneficial.


If the estate’s representative decides to file an action for wrongful death

This happens in a few cases, but it’s still worth noting. If the estate’s representative decides to file an action for wrongful death, the probate process will be mandatory. In this situation, it is crucial to distribute assets quickly. The deceased’s death may be due to someone’s negligence. This will prevent any fraud or improper administration of the estate or the claims for wrongful death.


If there are a small number of outstanding debts, taking care of them is a good idea.

In the probate process, the payment first notifies creditor lawsuits. This could lead to the costly and time-consuming process of lawsuits against creditors and the subsequent amount. If the process is not handled correctly, the cost of paying for the death expenses could hold beneficiaries accountable. However, when there are no creditors to pay, the probate process is much smoother, swifter, faster, and likely to be a less costly option.


If you have probate assets in the estate

The name might suggest that there are probate assets they will need to undergo the probate process. After someone dies, their assets can include things they owned that didn’t have a specified beneficiary or automatic transfer of ownership. The last class of assets includes real estate owned by the deceased. They control Bank accounts, life insurance policies without specific beneficiaries, and foreign business assets and investments.


If there’s an ongoing legal proceeding or case involving the deceased

In Florida in Florida, if there’s an ongoing legal matter against the deceased person when they die, this legal matter will not stop when they die. In these instances, the legal proceeding will require the probate process so that the estate can assume the role of the decedent.


Do Wills Have To Be Probated In Florida?

Florida law does not require a formal obligation to prove a will.

The Florida Statutes SS732.901(1) explicitly declare that the person responsible for preserving the Will has to file his Will in the judge’s office with the jurisdiction of the deceased’s Will within ten days of being informed that the testator has passed away.

Although there is a specific obligation to file and record the Will in a court in Florida, filing for Probate is not a requirement. Comprehending the distinction between “filing the will” and “probating the will.”

If someone makes a will and wishes to have it pronounced, they submit it for the judge’s custody. The Court’s request to examine the Will requires an individual petition for the administration of the estate of the testator.

Before submitting a probate application, the person in charge of the deed or another person must determine whether the Will should be formally probated.


How Do You Simplify or Avoid the Probate Process?

As we’ve mentioned in this article, the process of probate real estate in Florida is one that many try to avoid. Careful and planned planning can assist in getting rid of or minimizing the necessity to go through Probate. One of the best methods to get around Probate is the Revocable Living Trust. This kind of trust is common for those with large estates. It involves all assets placed in a trust, which the owner can access even if they’re still alive.

When the trust’s creator passes away, the trustee will give the things the trust owns to the chosen person. This usually means there is no need to go through the legal process of Probate for any assets in the trust. Another way to avoid Probate is to use joint ownership and survivorship powers. If you make someone else a joint owner of your bank accounts, properties, or investments, they will automatically get everything without needing to go through Probate.

However, this has certain drawbacks, which are often substantial, and you need to consult with a lawyer before adding joint owners to your property.


Bottom Line

Your skilled Florida estate planning attorney can aid in ensuring that the probate procedure goes without a hitch and in line with the wishes of your loved ones, which is the most important thing to consider when it comes to Probate and wills. Probate could leave personal administrators like you worried about the following issues:

  • Your ability to stand up for the intentions of your loved one who has passed away
  • The power of you to make sure the process proceeds with efficiency and effectiveness feasible
  • Your ability to stay clear of the legal cost and red tape as is possible

It’s good that an experienced estate planning lawyer is in a position to help you in completing each of these. You could let the following essential duties (as appropriate) to the skilled attorneys of your choice:

  • Paying and calculating inheritance taxes
  • We will discuss the issue of income tax and estate taxes that are due during the probate process.
  • Identifying your loved ones’ complete list of assets
  • The appraisal of hiring for any real estate in question
  • The collection of the proceeds from all life insurance policies
  • Opening and supervising a checking account on behalf of the estate
  • You must pay all estate debts and other bills.
  • After the final accounting, the executor makes the distributions according to the Will.
  • Filing and preparing all required court documents
  • Retaining assets in the name of their beneficiaries

Be sure to honor the wishes of your loved ones and ensure your legal rights as the beneficiary by working with an experienced estate planning attorney right from the beginning.

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