How to Prepare Family for Probate in Florida
Estate planning and probate can be a difficult subjects to talk about with family. But preparing your family for probate in Florida is an important step in ensuring that your estate and assets are distributed according to your wishes after you pass away. By taking the time to plan ahead and understand how probate works in Florida, you can help ensure that the process goes smoothly and that your loved ones are taken care of. This article will explain how to prepare your family for probate in Florida, including what documents you need and how the process will proceed.
Florida Probate Steps
The probate process, when prepared and executed correctly, can take anywhere from 6 to 12 months from beginning to end. Here are the 10 steps to probate in Florida:
- File an original will with the court.
The will must be filed with the court within 10 days after death.
- File the petition for administration, along with the order admitting the original will to probate.
A probate judge signs the order admitting the will for probate and begins the process of issuing the letters or administration.
- Notifying the beneficiaries.
This step is usually completed by the probate attorney according to the decedents’ (deceased person who developed the will) instructions.
- Court issues letters of administration.
The letters of administration appoint the estates’ personal representative (who is usually chosen by the decedent and assisted by the probate attorney).
- Issuing notice to creditors.
This is when creditors of the decedent (e.g., funeral expenses, mortgage company, health care professionals, etc) are notified of their death. It helps if the personal representative has a list of creditors ready to go. A probate attorney will take care of notifying all known creditors, and even unknown creditors. They notify unknown creditors by publishing a legal notice in the newspaper.
- Consolidating assets.
This is often the most time-consuming step because it involves the personal representative transferring assets to a probate account, selling property, and managing assets. Fewer assets often result in quicker probate.
- Payment of estate taxes (if any).
This step in the probate process can get very complicated, and very much depends on the needs and size of the estate. It’s best to consult with a probate attorney who can walk you through the process and tax planning associated with the probate process.
- Distribution of assets to the assigned beneficiaries.
To do this step properly, it is best to consult with an attorney to make sure there are no loose ends that could put the personal representative in a difficult situation.
- Final accounting.
The accounting involves a summary of all legally significant activities completed during the probate administration process, including evidence that creditors’ claims have been paid, documentation that all taxes have been paid, and a statement that the remaining estate property has been distributed properly to the people outlined in the will. Beneficiaries will have the opportunity to object. Or this step can be waived altogether by the beneficiaries’ unanimous consent. The attorney files the final accounting or the waivers with the court.
- Formal discharge.
If the final accounting or waivers are in order, they will be signed by a judge, which discharges the personal representative, and the probate case is officially closed.
There are some states that have made the probate process faster and easier, but the state of Florida is not one of them. Probate in Florida has complicated rules and procedures that could make it very difficult for family members to properly execute a will or receive an inheritance that the decedent would have liked for them to have.
Our recommendation is to prepare your family for the probate process by choosing a trusted attorney like the ones at Easy Estate Probate. We will walk your loved ones through the probate process, so it goes as smoothly and quickly as possible. Click here to contact Easy Estate Probate for a FREE case evaluation.