Probate is the court supervised process of identifying assets, paying off debts and distributing the remaining assets of a deceased person. Probate is necessary to pass ownership of the decedent’s property to the decedents beneficiaries and to wrap up the decedent’s financial affairs. If the decedent left a properly executed will the court will admit the will and follow it when distributing assets. If there is no will the court will pass ownership based on Florida inheritance law.
The first step family members should take after a loved one dies is to try to find a current copy of their will. It typically takes between six months and a year to complete the probate process. A knowledgeable and experienced probate attorney can help you by filing required documents with the court, representing the personal representative in court, arranging the payment of debts and coordinating the distribution of the estate in accord with the will.
Probate Litigation. Though Florida Probate Law is clear, there can be disputes within the process. The will itself may be disputed. Questions may arise as to the sound mind of the testator when the will was drafted, or whether deception or coercion was used to influence the testator. While the will may be valid, questions could arise as to assets that were not included in the estate. Or questions regarding the personal representative of the estate may arise including questions about his or her qualifications, whether he or she is appropriately managing the assets according to the will, or whether he or she has breached their duty.