Probate is the process where a court oversees the distribution of an estate after the death of the descendant. Most estates are designed in an attempt to minimize or eliminate the need for probate as it can be a lengthy, complex, and expensive process. However, when probate is necessary, it is imperative to have the probate handled by an experienced Orlando Probate Attorney. In Florida, there are typically two types of probate administration; summary administration and formal probate administration. It is important to discuss with your probate attorney what administration is proper given the value, complexity, and assets of the estate. Although many people believe that the probate process of an estate should be straight forward, often the issues that arise during the probate process make it more complex.
Summary administration is a faster less expensive form of probate administration. However, a summary administration is only available when the value of the estate is less than $75,000 (not including the value of property exempt from the claims of creditors). It is important to note that homestead property is not included in the $75,000 limit. For example, if the descendant has a homestead property valued at $250,000 and $40,000 in a bank account, the descendant would qualify for a summary administration because the value of the assets, not including the homestead property, is less than $75,000. Summary administration is available if the value of the estate is less than $75,000 or if the descendant has been deceased for more than 2 years. Summary administration is unavailable if the last will and testament specifically state that a formal probate should be completed. In a summary administration, a personal representative is not appointed and the estate is usually probated within three to five months, unless a will contest or some other issue arises to delay the administration of the estate.
The formal probate administration process can take anywhere from four to twelve months depending on the circumstances surrounding the estate. In a formal probate administration, the probate documents are prepared and a personal representative is appointed. Once the personal representative is appointed, the notice to creditors must be published and an inventory must be filed with the court. The court will then make a determination of homestead property, if appropriate, and the assets will be distributed to the creditors and beneficiaries. Once the assets are distributed, the estate is closed.
Probate is simply the process where the Court oversees the administration of an estate where the assets are identified and then distributed to creditors and beneficiaries.
Probate is legally necessary to transfer property from the decedent to the beneficiaries.
Probate assets are the assets owned by the decedent at the time of the decedent’s death. However, assets that contain a provision for automatic succession of ownership at death are not included in the probate estate. For example, real estate held as joint tenants with the right of survivorship or as tenants by entirety (usually used for married couples who own real estate) would not be a part of the probate estate. Additionally, assets held in a revocable trust would not be included in the probate process.
Typically, you need a court order authorizing the inspection of the safe deposit box. In the alternative, the letters of administration may allow you to access the safe deposit box.
You need probate if there are assets still held in the name of the decedent. If all assets are held jointly or have been transferred, there is typically no need for probate. It would be wise to consult with a probate attorney to make a more informed decision as to whether a probate administration is necessary.
Letters of administration are court orders, which are issued as part of a formal probate administration. Letters of administration authorize the personal representative of the estate to begin administering the estate.
Typically, as long as the estate is uncontested, you will not need to attend court.
Yes, you will still need probate if there are assets that need to be transferred.