What is Probate and who can help?
Probate is a legal proceeding to settle the estate of an individual who has passed away. An individual usually passes away testate (with a will) or intestate (without a will), in both of these instances there are several factors that are taken into consideration to determine if an individual’s estate must go through the probate process. This process can be very stressful and unclear for the loved ones of the decedent, which is why it is important to consult with a probate attorney.
One main factor to keep in mind in determining if a probate is required for an individual’s estate is if that individual passed away with assets titled in their name solely. In Florida, whether the individual passed away testate or intestate, if the assets were titled in the decedent’s sole name and there is no indication of a beneficiary on the particular asset it can be interpreted that a probate administration will be required to settle that estate. Probate attorneys are well versed in determining the situations where a probate is required and determining which administration is appropriate for that specific decedent.
A probate attorney is a valuable individual to consult regarding a decedent’s estate. They can guide the executor of a will and/or the beneficiaries of an estate to collect/inventory/identify estate assets, settle and distribute the estate, getting an understanding of any debt the decedent had, if any, preparing and filing of all necessary court documents, etc. There are several horror stories of long, expensive and drawn-out cases that could have been handled very differently, which is why it is important to choose an attorney who is experienced in the nuances of estate law to assure that the process goes as smooth as possible.