Helping You Navigate Florida’s Probate Process
Dealing with the probate process often happens just when you are least able to handle it. The many details you must take care of in your role as administrator of a will can be confusing, especially if you are in mourning or dealing with other practical aspects of having lost a loved one.
At Shaughnessy Law, our experienced, compassionate attorneys can help you. We can answer your questions, help you figure out what to do and take care of any complications that arise.
Walking You Through
Probate in Florida doesn’t have to be difficult. There are two kinds of administration:
- Summary administration: This applies if the death happened more than two years ago, or the value of the estate is $75,000 or less. The personal representative (executor) or any of the heirs can file a petition and notify all beneficiaries that the estate will be administered summarily. The court will issue an order to release property to the beneficiaries.
- Formal administration: An attorney must file Formal Administration papers in court so that the personal representative may be appointed and given the authority to settle the will. The will must be filed with the court and proven valid, and the personal representative will be supervised by the court as the estate is settled. The personal representative must give a final accounting to the court, and after the distribution, the court will close the estate. Six to 12 months is not uncommon for settling an estate through Formal Administration.
Our lawyers can guide you through the steps necessary for settling your loved one’s affairs. We will quickly and efficiently help you to:
- Determine the validity of the will
- Locate assets and debts
- Determine which assets don’t have to go through probate, such as life insurance proceeds, retirement accounts, assets held in a living trust, and property held in joint tenancy with someone else (e.g., homes or joint bank accounts)
- Make an inventory of all assets and determine the value of complex assets
- Determine who the beneficiaries are, as well as any creditors
- Distribute assets and pay debts
- Deal with any issues of business succession
- Pay taxes of the estate
- File papers for Formal Administration, if necessary