Probate Administration

What is Probate?

Probate is a court-supervised process for identifying and gathering the assets of a deceased person (a “decedent”), paying the decedent’s debts, and distributing the decedent’s assets to their beneficiaries. Florida has specific probate rules, procedures, and deadlines to administer an estate properly. It’s essential to work with a Florida probate lawyer who is familiar with those laws. Our Fort Lauderdale probate lawyers have that knowledge and experience.

When is Probate Necessary?

Probate is necessary when the decedent leaves probate assets. Only “probate assets” must go through the probate process to the decedent’s beneficiaries. Probate is unnecessary when assets pass to the decedent’s beneficiaries in some other way.

What is a Personal Representative?

In Florida, the personal representative (often called an “executor” or “administrator” in other states) is responsible for administering the decedent’s estate, making a diligent search for any creditors the decedent may have had, and paying off a diligent search for any creditors the decedent may have had, paying off the decedent’s debts, and distributing the decedent’s assets to their beneficiaries.

What Does and Doesn’t Pass Through Probate?

Assets that don’t pass through probate:

  • Assets that are jointly owned with “rights of survivorship” (i.e., when one person dies, the surviving person gets the asset)
  • Assets that have a designated beneficiary – such as TOD (transfer on death), POD (pay on death), or ITF (in trust for)
  • Assets in a revocable trust

If not mentioned above, most other assets will pass through probate. A probate lawyer near you can help identify your assets to reduce probate concerns.

What Does a Will Do?

The Will only controls probate assets that have to go through probate; it does not avoid probate. If the decedent left a valid Will, it must be admitted to the Florida probate court to effectively pass ownership of the probate assets to the beneficiaries named in the Will. If the decedent does not have a Will, the probate assets will be passed on to those entitled to receive them under Florida law through the probate process. It’s beneficial to work with a lawyer for wills and estates near you to draft a proper Will.

Summary Administration vs Formal Administration

There are two main types of probate administration under Florida law: formal administration and summary administration. Talk with a probate lawyer to determine their potential impact.

Summary Administration

Summary administration is a shortened version of a full probate administration.

Summary administration is available if:

  • the decedent has been dead for more than two years (regardless of the value of the estate) or
  • the decedent has been dead for less than two years, AND the value of the estate is less than $75,000 (not including exempt assets, such as homestead real property)

Those who receive the estate assets in a summary administration generally remain liable for claims against the decedent for two years after death.

Formal Administration

Formal administration is a full-length probate administration. Formal administration is necessary if the value of the estate exceeds $75,000 OR if a personal representative needs to be appointed.

How Long Does Probate Take?

It depends on what kind of probate administration is necessary. A summary administration may take anywhere from 2 to 3 months to complete. Formal administrations generally take about six months at a minimum, but the process often extends to around 12 months or longer. However, each estate is unique, and a number of factors can significantly impact these timelines.

Why You Need a Florida Probate Attorney

SJF Law Group specializes in probate administration in the State of Florida. Our probate lawyers in our Broward County Plantation office guide families through the intricacies of probate with compassion and expertise. In times of difficulty, they strive to offer clarity, comfort, and peace of mind to those navigating this challenging process. 

We understand the importance of having a skilled, experienced Florida probate attorney by your side. We address issues and concerns with personalized attention and professionalism. You don’t have to face this journey alone – let us assist you in securing your family’s future. 

Our probate lawyers help clients in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and West Palm Beach, FL.

To explore how our probate attorneys can support you, contact SJF Law Group. Our Plantation, FL, law firm serves clients in the vibrant communities of Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach counties.

Connect with us today by calling 954-231-3430 or reaching out online. Your peace of mind is our priority, and we look forward to the opportunity to serve you during this crucial time. 

About The Firm

Since 2011, SJF Law Group has been helping clients protect their families with estate planning, probate & trust administration. We pride ourselves on combining the personalized service and attention of a boutique firm, with the talent and legal acumen of a large firm.

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