The provision in Florida law dealing with probate is in Chapter 731 to 735 of Florida’s statutes. You should note that probate is not only limited to the distribution of property after death. It also applies to trust administration and guardianship.
Types of Probate Administration
There are two main categories of probate administration: formal administration and summary administration. There is also a third category called disposition of property without administration. This type of probate administration is used when there is no real estate and creditors are exempted from claiming the remaining assets. In this probate category, the person who funded burial expenditure and medical treatment expenses prior to the death of the decedent will be refunded.
What Happens When There Is A Will?
If there is a will, then the person in possession of the will has to bring it to the notice of the court within ten days of hearing about the decedent*s death. There are some types of assets that are not covered in a probate administration. Some of them include joint tenancy or property with a designated beneficiary like life insurance or assets of a living trust.
Which Category of Probate Administration Will Apply?
If the asset of the decedent is worth $75,000 or less, then a summary administration will be appropriate. The executor of the estate or the person who inherits the estate has to file the petition for the summary administration. The petition has to list the assets, the name of the heirs, and the estates that qualify for summary administration. There is no need for a personal representative because the court will directly distribute the property to the heirs.
A formal administration will apply where the value of the property is more than $75,000. Interested parties will ask the court to appoint a personal representative for the property. There has to be notice to the beneficiaries or heirs for them to contest or object to the will. The will has to be filed with the court and the witnesses to the will have to attest to its validity. The only time this is not needed is if the will is self-proving.
If there is no contest to the will, the personal representative will collect the decedent*s assets and distribute them to the beneficiaries and heirs. The estate will be closed after the distribution is complete.
The whole process takes about 6 months or a year to complete.
Additional resources provided by the author
After the death of a property owner, the probate is the process through which the court identifies his/her assets, pays off his/her debt, and settles the heirs and beneficiaries of the deceased. If there is a will, it has to be entered into the probate. During the probate proceedings family members of the decedent can contest the will.
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