The death of a loved one is a very emotional time. Many times people are confused and not aware of how the legal process works. Probate administration involves identifying and marshalling the assets of the decedent, notifying the decedent’s beneficiaries and creditors of the decedent’s death, paying the decedent’s debts and expenses of administration, and ultimately distributing any assets to the proper persons. The determination of who receives or inherits these assets depends upon whether the decedent was survived by a spouse or a minor child or children and whether the decedent executed a valid last will and testament devising his assets, a testate estate (with a will). A decedent who dies without a will is said to have died intestate (without a will) and their assets are distributed to the heirs at law as outlined in the Florida Statutes.
Probate administration is often a time-consuming cumbersome process. Formal Administration often includes the identification, valuation and safeguard of assets; identification and notification of possible heirs and creditors; assessment of the validity of claims against the estate of the deceased; publication of all legally required notices, management and investment of assets and real estate; applications to the court for authorization to liquidate and distribute assets to beneficiaries and creditors; filing and payment of federal and state income, estate, and gift tax returns; objection to the filing of improper claims; defense of lawsuits brought by creditors, if filed; payment of valid claims of creditors; employment of advisors and professionals to assist in administration; payment of administrative expenses; preparation of an inventory of assets; preparation of a formal accounting (if not waived); distribution of statutory amount or assets to the surviving spouse or dependent family member; distribution of assets to beneficiaries; and closure of the probate administration. Summary Administration is generally available if the decedent died more than two years ago or the assets of the decedent’s estate are less than $75,000.00, not including the decedent’s homestead property.
Except for very limited exceptions probate administration must be managed by a qualified lawyer. The Law Office of E. Philip Green, P.A. is available to help you through this sometimes cumbersome process. Call (305) 308-7979.