Probate Litigation Defined
Probate is a court-supervised process used to identify and gather the assets of a decedent (a deceased person) after his or her death. Probate also involves paying any debts the decedent may have, and distributing the decedent’s assets to his or her beneficiaries.
Steps of the probate process generally include:
- Using the decedent’s assets to pay the probate proceeding costs
- Using the decedent’s remaining assets to pay his or her outstanding debts
- Distributing the decedent’s remaining assets to his or her beneficiaries
Probate is necessary to pass ownership of the probate assets left behind by the decedent to the decedent’s beneficiaries. In addition to this, probate also functions to finalize the financial affairs of the decedent upon his or her death.
Florida Law and Probate
In the State of Florida, nearly all estates require the assistance of a Florida probate law firm or a Florida probate attorney. At LaBovick Law Group, we are dedicated to helping beneficiaries and surviving family members through the probate process. If you need a probate lawyer, please call 1-888-777-3884 today.
According to the Florida Statutes, if the decedent had a valid will at the time of his or her death, the will must be admitted to probate in the court in order to pass ownership of the decedent’s assets to his or her beneficiaries. Under Florida law, probate is required to pass ownership of the decedent’s assets if the decedent had no will.
Formal Administration & Summary Administration
Under Florida law, there are two main types of probate administration: Formal Administration and Summary Administration. Florida law requires a Formal Administration for all estates worth more than $75,000. The process is court supervised and involves the admission of a will, the appointing of a personal representative, and other important estate related proceedings. A Summary Administration is the simplified probate procedure provided by Florida law for estates having non-exempt assets worth less than $75,000.
People or entities normally involved in the Formal Administration probate process in Florida:
- Surviving spouse and children
- Personal Representative
- Probate Attorney for Personal Representative
- Additional Beneficiaries
- Clerk of the Circuit Court (acting through a Circuit Court Judge)
- Florida Department of Revenue
- Internal Revenue Service
Probate Assets in Florida
The term “probate assets” pertains to assets that the decedent solely owned at the time of his or her death, or assets co-owned by the decedent that lacked ownership succession at death. According to the Florida Statutes, probate administration applies to probate assets only.
A few examples from the Florida Bar on what does and does not constitute a Probate Asset:
- A bank account or investment account in the sole name of a decedent is a probate asset, but a bank account or investment account owned by the decedent and payable on death or transferable on death to another or held jointly with rights of survivorship with another, is not a probate asset.
- A life insurance policy, annuity contract or individual retirement account that is payable to a specific beneficiary is not a probate asset, but a life insurance policy, annuity contract or individual retirement account payable to the decedent's estate is a probate asset.
- 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), but real estate titled in the name of the decedent and one or more other persons as joint tenants with rights of survivorship is not a probate asset.
When it comes to protecting your estate, you deserve the help of an experienced and qualified Florida estate planning attorney to help you design a well-constructed plan for your future. Call 1-888-777-3884 now to speak to a qualified Florida attorney about your matter. We also help clients in need of probate assistance, estate planning attorney, wills, trust attorney, guardianships and other areas of importance.
The lawyers in Florida at LaBovick Law Group help clients protect their assets throughout Florida, including Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, and Broward counties, and the cities of Palm Beach Gardens, Jupiter, West Palm Beach, Boynton Beach, Stuart, Port St. Lucie, Delray Beach, Lake Worth, Boca Raton, Deerfield Beach, Fort Lauderdale and many other areas.