The Florida Probate procedure is an organized, court supervise process that identifies and organizes the assets of a deceased person, so that any debts can be paid so that the assets that remain can be distributed to any beneficiaries or heirs.
Any assets that go through probate are first used to pay the costs of probate to the State, and next any outstanding debts are paid. Any remaining assets are then used to pay the beneficiaries of the deceased.
Some of the debts owed may include Federal and state income taxes, the balance of which will be paid from the estate proceeds.
The probate process is a necessary function in order to pass the ownership of the property of the deceased to the beneficiaries of the deceased. Any will that is made must be admitted to the probate court in order to be effective in this process. If a will is in existence, but is not admitted to the court, it will be ineffective as far as processing assets to beneficiaries.
If there is no will in existence or to be found, then probate is a necessary process in order to pass the ownership of assets to people who are supposed to receive them under the Florida probate laws.
Probate is also a necessary function in order to wind up the financial affairs of a deceased person. This process makes certain that the creditors of a deceased person are paid as long as the proper procedures under the probate laws are followed.
A person who dies without a valid will is classified as “intestate” and then the distribution of the assets will fall under the probate laws of the state of Florida.
The process for filing for a probate proceeding to begin starts with the filing of of the will and any other documents with the clerk of the circuit court, in most cases in the county where the deceased lived at the time of death.
There is a small filing fee, and that is paid to the clerk and then a file number is given so that administration of the probate process can begin. The financial records of the estate are not available to the public at large, for the purpose of protecting the beneficiaries of the deceased.
The process begins with the judge deciding as to whether or not the will, if one is presented, is a valid will. If a representative is appointed by the estate, the judge will also determine if the representative is qualified.
If significant assets are present, the judge may appoint a personal representative to be in charge of the assets. This may be a bank, a trust company, or a person who will be in charge of the administration and distribution of the assets, once the determination is made as to how that will be done.
The administrator will be in charge of gathering and identifying the assets, publishing notices to creditors and claimants.
The Florida probate process ensures that by the court overseeing the estate distribution, the assets are properly distributed and the necessary costs and taxes are paid.