Probate is a court supervised process of distributing property to beneficiaries of a deceased individual via that person’s Last Will and Testament or according to Florida’s intestacy statute.
The Orlando Law Group works with families, both local and around the country, to guide them through this process. This can include filing the original Will and death certificate with the court, preparing and filing a petition to open an estate, either formal administration or summary, having a personal representative appointed, gathering assets, satisfying creditors, and ultimately guiding distributions from the estate.
I am already the executor if the Will names me as such.
- NO. You may be nominated as executor, or personal representative, in the Will but you have no authority over any assets until formally appointed by the court in the county where the deceased was living at the time of death.
Do all assets pass through probate?
- NO. Only assets titled in the deceased’s name alone need to pass through probate for distribution. For instance, any asset held jointly with right of survivorship or as a joint owner passes outside of probate to the surviving owner(s). Life insurance, IRAs and retirement plan assets pass outside probate to a designated beneficiary. Probate may be necessary if the beneficiary is also deceased or there is no valid beneficiary designation on that asset.
Is all of my information private?
- NO. All of the information passing through probate becomes public record.
Will the State of Florida take the assets?
- In the majority of cases, NO, so long as there is a valid Will or living heirs of the deceased. However, someone needs to step forward and request authority to handle the estate before taking any action.
Do I have to hire an attorney for probate?
- In most cases, yes and definitely in the case of a formal administration where you seek to be appointed as personal representative. It is best to get the advice of an experienced probate attorney as soon as possible after the death of a loved one to discuss if probate is necessary and what type of probate is appropriate for the situation.