What is Probate? Florida Probate Answers Revealed
Probate in Florida is a court-supervised process where assets of a deceased person (the decedent) are identified and gathered by the personal representative/executor (means the same thing). Essentially, the personal representative pays the decedent’s debts and distributes the assets to the decedent’s beneficiaries. This process can take anywhere from 3 months to over a year to accomplish, depending on the type of assets in the decedent’s estate.
There are two types of probate administration in Florida – formal administration and summary administration. Both require the hiring of an attorney to accomplish. There is also a type of proceeding that does not require the hiring of an attorney and this is called “Disposition of Personal Property Without Administration.” This type of administration only applies in limited circumstances.
A Circuit Court judge presides over the Florida probate proceedings and rules on the validity of the Will, or if a decedent died intestate, on the identity of the heirs. The judge also decides whether the person named as the personal representative is qualified to serve. Finally, the judge is responsible for issuing the “Letters of Administration” which gives the personal representative his or her authority to administer the decedent’s estate. If any disputes should arise during the administration of the estate, the Judge will hold a hearing to resolve the matter. To learn more about Florida Probate, please contact the Law Offices of Laurie Ohall.