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Understanding the probate process in Florida

On Behalf of | Nov 4, 2021 | Estate Planning

After a loved one passes away, going through the probate process can seem overwhelming and stressful. When you are unfamiliar with what to expect during probate, it can seem even more challenging.

Probate can seem frustrating, especially when trying to grieve and support your friends and family through their mutual loss. However, probate is part of the process for following through with your loved one’s estate plan.

Here’s what you should know about the probate process in Florida.

What happens?

Probate is a process overseen by the court to identify and distribute your loved one’s assets according to both the estate plan and the law. The judge will also appoint a personal representative to administer the estate.

In many cases, an estate plan will name a person or entity to serve as the personal representative when it is time for the estate to go through probate. If the will or other estate planning documents do not mention a personal representative, the court will appoint one by looking at the surviving family members.

The tricky part

Distributing assets has more to it than simply handing out your loved one’s cash and belongings to the people listed on the estate plan. Most estates have other financial obligations, like taxes and debts, to settle before it is time to distribute parts of the estate to friends and family.

Once the personal representative settles the estate’s debts and taxes, they can begin distributing the remaining assets according to the estate plan.

The probate process typically takes at least three months. Still, it could take six months or more if the personal representative needs to sell real estate or help resolve disputes. It is essential to seek the proper support and be patient through the process.