What is Probate?

A probate is a legal process that occurs after a death, and it helps in identifying and gathering the assets of the deceased individual. It involves proving that a will is valid, having any property appraised, paying off debts/taxes, and distributing the will. Usually the process involves some paperwork and court appearances. We are experienced with Probate, and in this article you can learn some of the essentials. 

When is a Probate Needed?

Ideally, the probate process should be avoided where possible. There are costs involved and it takes time to eventually settle. It can be prevented by having a clear will in place, and through having sufficient estate planning. At Desai Law, we can help you get a plan in place so your loved ones do not need to go through the probate process. 

A probate is a necessity when a will is unclear, or if there is no will. Even with a valid will, a probate can still be required to appraise assets such as property. It allows for all claims to be settled, and for ownership of assets to be passed down to beneficiaries. 

What are Probable Assets?

The process of probate only applies to specific assets that were owned solely in the deceased’s name or those with co-owners that lack sufficient provision for automatic succession. Common examples of probable assets include bank/investment accounts in the sole name of the deceased, a life insurance policy or real estate that is titled with the deceased. Typically, retirement accounts, properties held in a living trust, household goods, and other assets. Estate planning can help to ensure that assets are not subject to probate. 

How Does the Probate Process Work?

In Florida law there are two many types of probate which are formal administration and summary administration. A summary is a shortened version that does not require a personal representative, and it is usually cheaper. This process is available if either the deceased has been dead for over two years or if the total value of the estate does not exceed $75,000.

The more common type of probate process is the formal administration. In many cases it can be the best option because there is close court supervision over collecting and distributing assets. The first stage requires hiring a probate attorney to oversee the case, and the filing of essential documents. The personal representative can then begin administering the estate, and the case is closed when all creditor claims have been resolved, and taxes have been filed. The attorney will file a petition with the court that confirms all of the necessary steps have been taken. 

Closing Thoughts

Overall, probate is usually a straightforward process, but it can be prolonged if there are complex disputes involving the will or any assets. At Desai Law, we are here to help you with the probate process and you can contact us for any questions that you may have. 

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