Probate is a court-supervised process for identifying and collecting a decedent’s assets, paying taxes, claims and expenses and distributing the decedents assets to his or her named beneficiaries.
Small Estates (Disposition Without Administration) are filed when no formal administration is necessary and no real property is involved, pursuant to Florida Statute 735.301.
Trusts are pursuant to Florida Statute 737.
Frequently Asked Questions for Estates
Why is Probate Necessary?
Probate is necessary to wind up the affairs the decedent leaves behind. Probate also serves to transfer assets from the decedent’s individual name to the proper beneficiary. .
What are Probate Assets?
Generally, probate assets are those assets in the decedent’s name alone at the time of death or owned solely with no named beneficiary or in-trust-for provision.
What happens to the decedent’s assets if there is no will?
The assets are distributed as follows: the surviving spouse; the surviving spouse and lineal descendents; surviving parents; brothers and sisters and descendants of any deceased brothers and sisters and descendants of any deceased brothers and sisters. Certain exemptions exist for homestead property and statutory family allowances.
Who has preference to be personal representative?
The designated personal representative named in the decedent’s will or the named successor. If the decedent did not leave a will, the surviving spouse has preference, with second preference to the person selected by a majority in interest of the heirs. The personal representative is required to have an attorney.
How do I find an attorney?
The Florida Bar has lawyer referral service at 1-800-342-8011.