When a resident of the State of Florida dies and if that person (called the “decedent”) dies leaving a valid will, the will must be presented to the local court to perform the process called “probating a will”. Probating a will is the process whereby a judge examines a will to make sure it complies with very specific technical requirements such as being signed properly and having the appropriate amount of witnesses. After the court determines that a will is legally valid, the court will determine whether the person appointed in the will to serve as the “personal representative” or “executor” is willing to serve in this positon and then whether they are legally capable of serving in this capacity. The personal representative is responsible for working with the probate attorney to carry out the intentions of the decdent and performs important functions such as transferring title to real and personal property and executing other documents under the direction of the probate attorney and the supervision of the court.
Summary or Full Probate Administration?
When a person dies leaving only a homestead and personal property with a value that does not exceed $75,000, that estate will qualify for a summary administration, a process that can be completed in as little as a few short weeks. If the decedent dies leaving assets of more than $75,000, the estate must go through a full probate process which includes publishing a “notice to creditors” then waiting 90 days to allow any creditor to file a claim against the estate. If no claims are filed and there are no further complications, the estate can be closed fairly shortly thereafter, but in nearly every case a full administration will take at least 6 months after filing.
Probate is a time consuming and technically difficult process. Make sure your rights are protected by retaining an experienced Florida Probate Attorney. For more information, contact Matt Weidner at www.mattweidnerlaw.com.