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Understanding probate laws in Florida

When a person passes away in Florida, it is common for one's estate to go through the probate process. This means that the court will supervise the transfer of the decedent's assets to the people or organizations that are entitled to receive them.

The probate process can be complicated and is often time-consuming, especially if an individual passes away without a will. If you find yourself in a position where you have to deal with the probate process, it is important to understand what you can expect during the proceedings. An experienced probate attorney in the Pompano Beach area can help you navigate the court system and the process. Read further for an overview of Florida probate laws.

Probate

Regardless if the existence of a valid will, Florida requires that the decedent's estate pass through probate. The estate will go through either a formal, summary or abbreviated property distribution. The type of probate will depend on whether or not there is a valid will. If there is not a will, the court will divide the estate according to Florida probate law.

Appointment of personal representatives

Once the estate enters the probate process, the court will appoint a personal repre sentative. This person will hand the distribution of the property held in the estate. The representative will locate the decedent's property, pay the estate taxes, and handle any other financial duties that are part of administering the estate. Once all the expenses and taxes are paid, the representative will divide the property either according to the will or to intestate laws.

Overview of the law

There three types of probate administration in Florida: Formal Administration, Summary Administration, and Disposition of Personal Property Without Administration. Personal property can only be distributed without administration if the value of the estate does not exceed $10,000.

The assets that will go through the probate process include bank accounts that are in only the decedent's name and do not designate a beneficiary. In addition, any real estate that the decedent owns individually, proceeds from life insurance policies that are distributable to the estate, and real estate that the decedent co-owned as tenant in common will pass through probate.

Certain assets will not pass through probate. For example, property that is included in a revocable trust, life insurance and retirement accounts that include a designated beneficiary. Other property that is not subject to probate includes real estate the decedent owned as joint tenants with a right of survivorship and accounts that are designated as payable or transferable on death.

The probate process in Florida can be tricky to navigate. If you have lost a loved one and must now deal with probate, it is important to understand the process and to safeguard your rights.

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