When a loved one passes away, his or her estate often goes through a court-managed process called probate or estate administration where the assets of the deceased are managed and distributed. If your loved-one owned his or her assets through a well drafted and properly funded living trust, it is likely that no court-managed administration is necessary, though the successor trustee needs to administer the distribution of the deceased. The length of time needed to complete the probate of an estate depends on the size and complexity of the estate and the local rules and schedule of the probate court.
Every probate estate is unique, but most involve the following steps:
- Filing of a petition with the proper probate court.
- Notice to heirs under the Will or to statutory heirs (if no Will exists).
- Petition to appoint Personal Representative.
- Inventory and appraisal of estate assets by Personal Representative.
- Payment of estate debt to rightful creditors.
- Sale of estate assets.
- Payment of estate taxes, if applicable.
- Final distribution of assets to heirs.
While there are many areas in which Florida permits “pro-se” representation ( self representation), Probate is not one of those areas. You must hire a lawyer to lead you through the process. Please do not hesitate to call us to schedule a time to have your questions answers. We understand that Probate law requires both compassion and knowledge.
Disclaimer: The material herein represents general legal advice. Since the law is continually changing, some provisions may be out of date. It is always best to consult an attorney about your legal rights and responsibilities regarding your particular case.