The probate process can be complicated, but it is important to understand the ins and outs of this legal process if you are dealing with the estate of a deceased person. Probate law is complicated so consulting with a Florida probate attorney makes sense.
Here are 10 important facts that you should know about the probate process.
Probate is the legal process used to transfer ownership of property from a deceased person’s estate to their heirs or beneficiaries. This includes any assets such as real estate, investments, stocks, and bank accounts. It also includes any debts that were left behind by the deceased individual.
It is typically initiated with the filing of an application for probate with the local court in which the decedent resided at the time of death.
The executor (also known as the personal representative) named in a will must be approved by a judge during probate proceedings before they can administer an estate, including collecting assets, paying debts, and distributing property according to instructions provided in a will or state law.
It is typically wise to appoint an experienced attorney as executor to navigate any legal issues that may arise during this complex process. For example, a probate law firm in Orlando has experienced lawyers who can act as executors according to state law and/or instructions provided within the will. They will also act as a liaison between family members and creditors when appropriate.
In some states, it may be necessary for all beneficiaries named in a will to sign off on probate documents before they can proceed. This is also true for any other interested parties who might have claims against an estate—such as creditors or former spouses—who must also give their approval before any assets can be distributed.
During this process, creditors have an opportunity to file claims against the estate if they believe they are owed money by the deceased individual prior to death or through inheritance via living trusts established by them before death. These claims must be paid out of estate funds before any assets can be distributed to heirs or beneficiaries listed in a will or living trust agreement.
Not all estates are subject to probate; those with assets below certain thresholds may not require that step depending on state laws and regulations. Also, estates that consist mostly of non-probated assets such as joint tenancy items may not require probating either if all owners agree upon how these should be handled after one owner dies without issuing specific instructions via a will or living trust agreement before death.
The amount of time required for probate varies from state to state but typically takes anywhere from six months up to two years depending on how complex an estate is and whether there are any disagreements among family members involved in administering it during this period (which could delay proceedings). Each state has different time limits for individuals claiming their inheritance from an estate; so it’s important to check what those time limits are to ensure that everyone receives what they are entitled to under the law.
Executors may have to pay fees such as attorney fees, court costs, appraisal costs, etc., so it’s important to factor these into account when budgeting for administering an Estate through probate court proceedings (unless otherwise indicated in a valid Will or Living Trust).
Having a valid Will in place prior to passing away can help reduce any potential fees associated with administering an Estate through probate proceedings. A will can also help avoid potential conflict among heirs since everyone would know exactly what was specified in said, Will.
Dealing with probate after losing someone close can be difficult emotionally and logistically so it’s important for those going through this process to understand exactly what needs to happen for them to complete it as quickly as possible while adhering to all necessary laws. With this comprehensive guide, we hope you now have a better understanding of what probate entails so you can make informed decisions about how best to move forward during this difficult time.