Florida Probate & Estate Planning Attorneys

Planning for the future of your estate may seem like an overwhelming experience, but it is important to understand how valuable this process can be. Not only can it help you to eliminate any uncertainties about how you would like your assets to be distributed, but it may even help you to maximize the value of your estate by shielding your property from specific taxes.

Although this may sound like a daunting undertaking, this process can be made simple with the guidance of a qualified probate attorney. With a caring legal professional by your side, you can feel confident about the decisions that you will be asked to make for you or your loved one. There are innumerable legal complexities involved in both estate planning and probate, so you should not hesitate to enlist the help of an experienced lawyer in your area.

Probate Laws in Florida

According to Florida Probate Code, found in Florida Statues Chapter 731-735, there are three main types of probate administration: formal administration, summary administration, and ancillary administration. Formal administration, the most common of the three, can be used if an estate is worth more than $75,000. To file this type of probate, you must file a Petition for Administration with the Circuit Court that has jurisdiction over the area in which the decedent resided. This petition officially requests that the court admits the case and opens it for administration. They should appoint a personal representative, also known as an executor, to oversee the estate's assets.

A summary administration, on the other hand, is applied if an estate is worth less than $75,000 or the decedent has been dead for more than two years and has no known creditors, or there is an existing plan to pay the creditors. In this case, no personal representative is appointed because the court orders that the assets are directly distributed. This type of administration is much lower in cost and usually takes a much shorter amount of time than formal administration. The average processing length is 30-45 days, contrasted with formal administration, which can take more than 8 months. To see if you can qualify for summary administration, contact a probate lawyer in your area. It is important to note that not every estate is eligible for this type of administration.

Ancillary Administration is used when an out-of state resident has left property in Florida or has debts that are due from Florida residents. It employs a similar process as formal administration. If you want to avoid formal administration, then you might petition to distribute without administration or prove that the worth of the property is less than $50,000.

In some cases, a formal proceeding is not required if the decedent left personal property alone, or the property is exempt from creditor claims, worth less than the amount of funeral expenses and medical expenses from the decedent's last 60 days, or exempt by Florida law. To be eligible, you must show relevant documents, such as property descriptions, funeral bills, and medical bills. If the court rules in favor of the petition, then it will authorize the transfer of assets to the entitled persons.

For assistance in choosing the type of administration that is best for your loved one's estate, get in touch with a Florida probate lawyer near you. A legal professional will be able to help you assess the situation and decide what category applies. They can also better explain the benefits and disadvantages associated with each type of administration.

For probate & estate planning assistance in Florida, please choose one of the counties below.