When establishing an estate plan, it is vital to include probate planning if you own assets such as land or property that you wish to pass on to your loved ones. Occasionally, there may be circumstances where estate planning involves property located in another state. This property may be a valuable asset for a non-Florida descendant. If the property asset has a sufficient level of value, it may warrant a probate administration transfer of the property.
During these situations, legal proceedings will take place in the state that the descendent lives as well as in Florida. The process of probate may be especially confusing for beneficiaries who do not live in the same state that they were given property. When this occurs, it can be helpful to contact a reliable Central Florida attorney who has experience in probate matters.
How is Probate Defined in Florida?
The probate process can seem challenging, but it is relatively simple to navigate with the help of an attorney that you can trust. Probate is defined in Florida as the legal procedure of distributing an individual’s assets after they have passed away. Much of the probate process involves, but is not limited to, the following:
- Attorney verification that the last will and testament left by the deceased is valid
- Fulfilling the final wishes of the deceased
- Administering assets to beneficiaries
- Paying relevant taxes
For beneficiaries receiving property in Central Florida, there are three specific varieties of probate that you can encounter: formal administration, summary administration, and disposition without administration. We explore each of these below.
This type of probate is the most common variety that beneficiaries interact with and is commonly referred to as “formal probate.” Formal administration cases take place in the state where the deceased party lived at the time of their passing. In cases of probate for non-Florida residents who receive an asset from their loved one, this means that the case will take place in Florida.
In instances of formal administration, the process begins after the deceased has passed away and the executor of their will, whether it is a family member or a third party, requests that they be appointed the personal representative of the deceased individual’s estate. After that time, beneficiaries are notified and given a chance to express any formal objections they may have.
Certain cases of probate do not always require a personal representative in the state where the deceased was living at the time of their death. When this occurs, it is referred to as “summary administration,” which is a condensed form of Florida probate. Summary administration cases do not require as much effort, time, or money as many other instances of probate in Florida.
There are only two avenues by which an executor can proceed with summary administration: the deceased must have passed away more than two years ago, or the estate is valued at anything below $75,000. Though the rules surrounding specific types of probate may be complicated, a trusted estate planning attorney can help you through each of the steps to ensure that your case proceeds quickly and without encountering any legal issues.
Disposition Without Administration
Depending on the circumstances related to the passing of a family member or a loved one, some cases may involve “disposition without administration.” This often refers to the process of skipping a probate hearing due to specific factors related to the value of the property. If the final expense of moving forward with a probate case is more than the value of the property itself, many individuals will choose not to continue.
How Can a Probate Attorney in Florida Help Me?
During the process of distributing assets in accordance with a deceased individual’s last will and testament, a probate attorney can help maintain consistency with all state laws when settling the final affairs of someone who has passed away. Probate attorneys often assist executors by taking them through the process step-by-step to ensure that all directions left by the deceased are followed. They can also help personal representatives with the following objectives:
- Answer relevant questions from beneficiaries
- Bond the estate
- Collect and inventory the assets from the estate
- Deliver notices to creditors
- Determine a value for the assets
- File an accounting with the court
- Make final distribution of the assets
- Pay debts, taxes, and expenses of the estate
- Protect the assets during the probate process
- Publish the estate
- Resolve disputes and creditor claims
- Sell real property
If you are getting ready to start the probate process, it can feel overwhelming if you are facing it alone. Contacting a reliable probate attorney can provide you with dedicated legal counsel from an experienced estate planning representative who can ensure that all of your probate and asset-related questions are answered.
Dedicated Probate Attorneys in Central Florida
After a loved one has passed away and you have been named the beneficiary of their assets, it can be difficult to determine how to move forward and what to do next. Managing probate is a challenge for many out-of-state recipients, but a knowledgeable probate attorney can take you through the process one step at a time to ensure that your loved one’s final wishes are managed properly.
The team at Patriot Legal Group has been working with clients on complex probate cases for many years, assisting families and individuals across Central Florida with help on their newly-gifted assets and how to manage them. If you are looking for experienced legal counsel for your probate case in Florida, contact the office of Patriot Legal Group today.
Call (407) 737-7222 or reach out online to schedule your consultation with one of our skilled Central Florida probate attorneys.