Probate

An estate in Florida is comprised of all of the assets owned by someone at the time of their death—for example—cash, real estate, stocks, bonds, life insurance, retirement accounts, cars, etc.

Legal Process

We strongly recommend you use an attorney to guide you through the probate process.  Many of our clients come to us already working with an attorney.  If you have not retained an attorney, we can refer a few excellent local probate attorneys in the county your loved one held residence.   We work with many Attorneys, but we are not attorneys and we do not offer any legal advice.   

Judge's Table

What is Probate?

The probate of someone’s estate refers to the process by which a Court recognizes that person’s death and authorizes the administration of that person’s estate. The probate process applies both when someone dies leaving a will, or when someone dies without a will.  The process requires that all of that person’s property will be gathered, their debts paid, and their remaining assets be distributed according to the provisions of the will.  

 

If they died without a will, then the property will be distributed according to Florida law regarding intestacy (dying without a will).

There are two types of probate administration under Florida law: formal administration and summary administration. There is also a non-court supervised administration proceeding called "Disposition of Personal Property Without Administration." This type of administration only applies in limited circumstances.

 

Probate administration only applies to probate assets. Probate assets are those assets that the decedent owned in his or her sole name at death, or that were owned by the decedent and one or more co-owners and lacked a provision for automatic succession of ownership at death.

Probate assets include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • A bank account or investment account in the sole name of a decedent.

  • A life insurance policy, annuity contract, or individual retirement account payable to the decedent's estate.

  • Real estate titled in the sole name of the decedent, or in the name of the decedent and another person as tenants in common, is a probate asset (unless it is homestead property).

Probate is necessary to pass ownership of the decedent’s probate assets to the decedent’s beneficiaries, if the decedent did not have a will. Probate is also necessary to complete the decedent’s financial affairs after his or her death. Administration of the decedent’s estate ensures that the decedent’s creditors are paid if certain procedures are correctly followed.


Probate proceedings are filed with the clerk of the circuit court, usually in the county in which the decedent lived at the time of his or her death. 

Estate Planning & Trusts

Most people that set up a trust to help avoid probate, tax consequences and family stress do not have a plan for the real property & its contents.   Sure it may say to sell the properties or not, but the burden of issues falls on the exectutor.  Our team helps executors deal with all the issues and services needed when dealing with real and personal property.