So, you’re interested in finding out how the probate of estates process works? Look no further, here we will explain the steps involved and attempt to help you understand this process! We shall start with the term probate itself, this refers to the administering of the deceased’s estate. This includes the administering of the deceased’s debts and legal title of property owned solely by the deceased person, such as a car or real estate.
The probate of estates process begins with an executor or executrix, Florida known as a Personal Representative. This person, is generally appointed by the last will and testament. However, should there be no will, a family member will generally ask the court to appoint a personal representative for the estate. The appointee then presents the will in the courthouse for the probate process to begin.
The Steps of the Probate Process
The probate process can vary in length depending on whether or not a will is available, however, having a last will and testament can aid in the probate process immensely. Here we will take a look at the steps involved in the probate of estates process to better help you understand how it unfolds.
- File a Petition with the Probate Court: The first steps to the probate process involves filing a petition to the probate court which will allow the appointment of a Personal Representative. However, should a will not be available then an administrator will be appointed to the estate. The filling of the petition leads to a court hearing being set, with this notice of the hearing must be provided to the beneficiaries and the deceased’s heirs. This done to allow for the beneficiaries and heirs to contest the petition in court should they so wish to.
- Take Inventory of the Estate:
The inventory of the deceased’s probate property is to be compiled by the executor or administrator. This includes a wide variety of assets ranging from personal items to property and stocks. This inventory is then appraised by either an independent appraiser or a court appointed appraiser based on the laws of the state.The executor or administrator is also required to give notice to all the creditors of the estate. Any creditor who wants to make a claim on the estate is the required to do so within a set time frame. (90 days in Florida)
- Take Inventory of the Estate:
- Payment of Debts, Taxes and Funeral Expenses: The executor or administrator is the required to determine whether or not a creditor’s claim against the state is a legitimate claim. The executor or administrator then pays out to the creditor, as well as various other debts such as taxes, funeral expenses as well as any creditors which have a legitimate claim.
- Transfer of Assets and Property: Once an allotted amount of time has passed in which creditors are allowed to file claims against the estate the final process begins. Provided all debts have been paid the executor or administrator of the estate then petitions the court to transfer all remaining assets to the heirs, beneficiaries and trustees according to the will. Should there be no will be provided, the assets are split according to the state’s succession laws. Once the petition is approved, the executor or administrator then begins the process of drawing up deeds of ownership for the assets of the estate to be transferred.
The probate process can be a daunting process for one to face alone. Once the court process has commenced there are generally various legal issues which can arise due to competing claims and disputes. This becomes even more daunting when you consider that every state has different legal rules to regarding the probate of estate process. However, this doesn’t have to be the case, as there are specialized attorneys who can help you throughout the process. We here at Gary I. Handin, P.A. offer probate attorney services which deal with Florida law. With our legal expertise we can ensure peace of mind when it comes to the probate process.