The will must go though probate. Read the will to see whom your father appointed as Personal Representative (PR). The PR will need to hire an attorney to file a petition for administration to open the estate and have the letters of administration issued by the court to the PR. The process entails posting notices to creditors, addressing final income tax and estate tax issues, marshalling the assets of the estate, and distributing the assets accordingly. Email me and I will be happy to refer you to an attorney that can help you.
Dennis Phillips, Esq.
Probate is a court procedure to authenticate a Will , to make sure that debts and taxes are paid and to supervise distribution of assets to the right persons. Each state has its own laws governing probate. Your dad's Will probably designates an Executor to handle the probate and it is the Executor who can hire an attorney to help the Executor in filing papers with the state court to have the Executor appointed. There will be a hearing, notice to heirs and beneficiaries, in some cases publication in a legal newspaper. The Executor may want to interview more than one attorney before deciding who to hire. The Executor needs to have the attorney explain how the Executor and the Attorney are compensated for their services under the relevant state's law.
In Florida, the will must be filed with the County's Probate Court within 10 days after his death. The will should indicate who he wishes to be the Personal Representative for the estate. How his property is titled and the size of the estate, will determine which form of probate should be filed. The Personal Representative is responsible for filing the probate, setting up the estate, conducting an accounting of the assets, paying remaining debts, filing taxes, and distributing assets. If there is more than one beneficiary, Florida law requires an attorney for probate proceedings. Should you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me using the contact information listed on my profile.