Florida Probate Process
Walser & Herman Law Firm – With More Than 30 Years’ Experience in Administering Estates
Probate is governed by state statute. This means that a personal representative administering an estate in Florida must abide by Florida laws. In addition, if your loved one owned property in Florida, Florida laws may apply to that property, even if you are administering the estate in another jurisdiction.
For more than three decades, Walser & Herman Law Firm has solely handled Florida estate matters. This level of narrow focus gives us the intricate knowledge to successfully resolve any challenge. Our lawyers can help you conduct your personal representative duties effectively. We can also act as personal representatives, taking on all the responsibilities of opening, administering and closing the estate.
Formal Administration Procedures in Florida
Most estates go through the formal, or regular, administration process. Formal administration takes longer than the summary process because the court supervises every step.
Each estate has unique circumstances and challenges. However, the basic duties of the personal representative remain the same. Upon retaining our law firm, we follow this timeline to help the personal representative complete the formal probate process:
- File a petition and your loved one’s will with the probate court to open the estate
- Ask the court to appoint a personal representative, who is usually the person named in the will
- File inventory of the assets owned by the estate
- Notify known creditors and publish a Notice to Creditors
- Wait the statutory three months for creditors to file claims against the estate for payment on judgments, medical bills, funeral expenses, taxes and any other debts owed by your loved one or the estate
- Identify and collect your loved one’s assets, such as money held in bank accounts, securities, real and personal property, unpaid income and debts owed to your loved one
- Maintain the assets in good condition and take steps to retain value, which may include paying insurance premiums, collecting rent and protecting assets from theft, deterioration or damage
- Liquidate assets, possibly cars and real estate, and deposit proceeds in the estate’s bank account until final distribution
- Upon expiration of the three-month creditor period, and upon completion of all other personal representative tasks, petition the court to allow a distribution of remaining assets to the beneficiaries and to close the estate
- Once the court approves the petition, distribute assets to beneficiaries according to the will’s instructions, or as required by statute if no will exists
Florida Summary Administration
The heirs of an estate may benefit from a summary administration, which releases property much quicker, and often with fewer expenses, than the formal administration process. To qualify for summary administration, your loved one must have died more than two years before filing or the value of probate assets is $75,000 or less. Funds held in trust, real property titled as tenancy by the entireties and other non-probate assets are not included in the valuation of the estate for purposes of qualifying for summary administration. All beneficiaries must agree to the summary proceedings through signed waivers.
Ancillary Administration of Florida Property
Commonly, people own property in multiple states. Ancillary administration is the process of administering the property if somebody dies while living in another state and owning property in Florida. Usually, the proceedings are used in regards to real estate or closely held corporations.
Our lawyers administer estates in every jurisdiction in Florida and we can help you handle assets anywhere within the state. You may be eligible for an abbreviated ancillary process if the Florida property is valued at less than $50,0000.
Let a Boca Raton or Palm Beach Probate Lawyer Assist You In the Florida Probate Process
Walser & Herman Law Firm is available to assist you with each phase of the Florida probate process. Consult with our knowledgeable attorneys at our Boca Raton main office or our Palm Beach office location by calling 561.750.1040 or contacting us by email.