North Port, Florida – Probate Attorney

Probate administration is the process that occurs after a person dies by which his or her estate is “settled.” In a nutshell this means:

  • the decedent’s assets are collected
  • creditors are notified and paid
  • and then the remaining assets are distributed to the decedent’s beneficiaries in accordance with the decedent’s will (or the default rules in Florida if there is no valid Will)

Probate assets are all of the assets that a person owns in his or her individual name at death. A will determines the distribution of those assets. If the decedent did not have a will, then Florida’s laws of intestacy are applied.

A will also names the person the decedent selected to administer the decedent’s estate. That is the person who performs the above process. This person is referred to as “personal representative” in Florida. The person representative must file the will with the court and petition to open the process of probate. When the petition is granted, the process of probate officially begins. In Florida, you must hire an attorney to probate an estate. The only exceptions are if you are an attorney or if you are trying to get reimbursed for paying funeral expenses.

The personal representative must first give notice of the estate administration. This notice must be given to all parties who have an interest in the estate. The personal representative is responsible for paying any claims made against the estate from the assets within the estate, and must pay these claims before distributing anything to the beneficiaries. The personal representative will also be responsible for filing income tax returns and, if necessary, estate tax returns on behalf of the decedent and the decedent’s estate.

After all requirements have been satisfied, the personal representative may begin to distribute the remaining assets to the decedent’s beneficiaries.

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