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Do You Need A Lawyer For Probate In Florida?

Finance BY Shahanawaz
Lawyer

The death of a loved one often leaves the bereaved with a plethora of tasks and decisions to be made, one of which is navigating the complex legal process called probate.

When it comes to probate in Florida, you may find yourself asking, “Do I need a Miami probate lawyer?” In the following sections, we will walk you through the process, helping you understand when and why you might need the services of a Miami probate lawyer.

Understanding Probate

Probate is the legal procedure that happens after a person’s death to ensure that their will is deemed valid, all debts are paid, and all assets are distributed according to their wishes. This process can be complex and time-consuming, often requiring the need for a probate lawyer.

Florida Probate Requirements

In the state of Florida, probate is generally required for estates exceeding $75,000 in value. Furthermore, almost all cases necessitate the services of a probate lawyer, except for very small estates and those where the executor is the sole beneficiary.

Importance Of A Miami Probate Lawyer

Florida law is quite particular when it comes to probate, often requiring the assistance of a probate lawyer to guide the personal representative (executor) through the process. The intricacies and technicalities of formal probate administration can be challenging for non-lawyers, making the services of a Miami probate lawyer invaluable.

Probate Process In Florida

Probate Process

The probate procedure in Florida begins when the executor, who is nominated in the will, or another party requests the circuit court to appoint them as the estate’s personal representative. The court then validates the will and issues a Letter of Administration, granting the personal representative the authority to settle the estate in accordance with the will.

Gathering And Inventorying Assets

The first responsibility of the personal representative is to gather and inventory the deceased’s assets. This involves identifying all assets, assessing their value, and ensuring they are properly managed until they can be distributed to the beneficiaries.

Addressing Taxes & Debts

The personal representative is also responsible for settling all taxes and debts owed by the person who died. This includes negotiating with creditors, paying outstanding bills, and ensuring that all tax obligations are met.

Distributing Assets

Once taxes and debts have been paid, the remainder of the assets will get distributed to the beneficiaries as stipulated in the will. The distribution of assets must be done in a manner that is fair and in accordance with the wishes of the deceased.

Final Accounting

After the distribution of assets, the personal representative is required to submit a final accounting to the court. This report details the contents of the estate, how the assets were managed, and how they were distributed.

Complications In Probate

Several complications can arise during probate, making the process more challenging. These include missing heirs, disputes among beneficiaries, and the existence of multiple valid wills. In such cases, the expertise and guidance of a Miami probate lawyer can be essential.

Summary Administration VS. Formal Administration

In Florida, some smaller estates may qualify for a simplified process known as summary administration, which is faster and less expensive than formal administration. However, not all estates are eligible for summary administration, and even when they are, it may not always be the most practical option.

Probate And Real Estate

Another common question is whether it’s possible to change the title to a deceased person’s property in Florida simply by recording the will. Unfortunately, this is generally not the case. Title insurance underwriters in Florida typically do not recognize a recorded will as sufficient to convey title. In most cases, the property must pass through probate.

Is It Ever Too Late To Start Probate?

There is no deadline to open a probate in Florida, and it’s possible to handle estates many years after a person’s death. However, over time, it may become more difficult to track down heirs and manage the estate effectively.

Florida And Estate Tax

Currently, Florida does not collect an estate tax. However, if a Florida estate must file a federal estate tax return, it must also file a Florida return, even though no tax is owed.

Where Is A Probate Case Filed? 

Probate Case

Any and all probate cases must and should be filed in a court where the location lies. The proper location depends on a few facts, such as. 

  1. “If the decedent was a Florida resident, the case must be filed in the country where they were domiciled, that is, where they were an official resident. You may reference the decedent’s death certificate to confirm which country is listed as the official country county of last residence.”
  2. “If the decedent was not a Florida resident, then the case may be filed in any county where the decedent’s property is located. For example, if a Georgia resident owned property in both Gainesville and Tallahassee, the probate proceeding could be filed in either Alachua County or Leon County, but not on any other county.”

What Documents Are Needed To File A Probate Case? 

When you are going to file a probate case, other than the information and specific petitions, there are a few files are required, such as

  1. Affidavit of Heirs
  2. A certified copy of the decedent’s death certificate
  3. The original testament and last will any codicils (if applicable)
  4. Proof of services of formal notice of the petitions, or joinder, consent, and waiver to the petition by all interested parties. 

Conclusion

Probation can easily be a complex and daunting process, especially for those who are already dealing with the loss of a loved one. A Miami probate lawyer can provide the expertise and guidance needed to navigate this process successfully, ensuring that the deceased’s wishes are honored and their estate is properly managed.

Remember, each probate case is unique and comes with its own set of challenges. Therefore, even if you have a general understanding of the process, it’s always best to consult with a professional. A qualified Miami probate lawyer can help you avoid common pitfalls, ensure legal compliance, and ultimately save you time and stress.

To help you get started, many law firms offer a free initial consultation. Don’t hesitate to reach out and take advantage of this opportunity to get your questions answered and understand how a Miami probate lawyer can assist you in the probate process.

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Shahnawaz is a passionate and professional Content writer. He loves to read, write, draw and share his knowledge in different niches like Technology, Cryptocurrency, Travel,Social Media, Social Media Marketing, and Healthcare.

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