Probate is the name given to the process of transferring legal title of a property from a deceased individual to their heir or beneficiary. Supervised by court, probate can include the completion of payment on any outstanding taxes or debts still owing, determine the authority of the will, assemble all assets and settle all disputes. Understanding your probate beneficiary rights is an important part of the process.
The Florida Probate Code and Florida Probate Rules administer certain rights for the beneficiary of an estate. At the opening of a probate, a beneficiary may have a right to appoint a personal representative, if the decedent has not appointed one in a will, if there is a will and be given notice and information regarding the estate administration.
There are two instances that influence the probate process – probate with a will and probate without a will. If there is a will, the process is easier and shorter. However, the lack of a will can make the process quite complicated.
In terms of the Florida Probate Code, all wills need to be probated if there are any assets owned solely by the deceased that are probatable under the law. In addition, probate is required when there is a death without a will. If the decedent’s assets are to be inherited, probate proceedings must take place.
What Are Probate Beneficiary Rights?
A personal representative is appointed by the probate court to administer the process and is obligated to share all relevant information about the steps with the beneficiaries. These are just a few of the many rights that the beneficiary of an estate is entitled to.
Notice Of Administration
The personal representative is expected to promptly provide all information about the estate to the heirs. This includes the file number, the descendant’s name, the designation of the probate court, and information regarding the existence of a will.
The personal representative is required to produce an inventory of all of the estate assets, as well as the creditors who made claims about the estate. This information and the supporting documents can be inspected by the beneficiaries for accuracy.
The beneficiary has the right to request an adjudication and a hearing if ever uncertain about facts involved in the probate process.
It is the responsibility and duty of the personal representative to be prompt and conscientious while probating the estate.
Petition The Determination Of Beneficiaries/Beneficial Interest
If the will is unclear regarding the beneficiaries, an individual has the right to petition in the probate action in order to determine the beneficiaries of the estate and resolve the entitlement of the property. In the same way, a beneficiary has the right to request their exact interest in the estate and determine their inheritance.
Revoke The Probate Of A Will
The beneficiary has the right to begin a proceeding to revoke a will from being probated as being invalid.
Violation Of Beneficiary Rights
There are a number of ways to protect the estate if the beneficiary’s rights are violated due to improper administration of the estate.
The beneficiary may petition the court to instruct the personal representative to properly administer the estate. In an extreme situation, the beneficiary may ask that the personal representative be surcharged or removed.
A number of legal issues may arise once the probate proceedings commence. In this instance, a probate attorney will be able to respond to these issues as they arise.
Understanding your probate rights as a beneficiary ensures that your rights are protected during the probate process. A probate attorney has intimate knowledge of court rules and documents and can help alleviate stress and confusion in key procedures.