Guiding You Through Life's Storms

Guiding Individuals Through Florida Probate

Probate can be difficult to understand if you approach it without prior experience, but if you are equipped with the proper knowledge, you can know how to navigate it. This article will give you the knowledge you need to understand what probate is in Florida and how it works in most situations.

At Marshall Law, we have dedicated a part of our practice to probate as one of the primary areas of our firm. We have been handling difficult probate matters since 2006. Although probate is never an enjoyable process, we aim to make it simple for you so that you can focus on the other important matters in your life.

Frequently Asked Questions About Probate

Below are some of the more frequently asked questions that we receive regarding probate at Marshall Law. If you find that you still have additional questions after you read them, you are welcome to reach out to our office and get help finding the answers you need. You can call our office at 352-619-0744 or send us a message online to schedule a consultation.

What is formal probate in Florida?

There are three types of probate that you may be eligible for: distribution without administration, summary probate administration and formal probate administration. The most complex of the three is formal probate. You are required to have an attorney for all formal probate cases, and an executor will be in charge of overseeing the estate of the decedent.

When is formal probate required?

Formal probate is required when the estate in question cannot be processed under the other two forms of probate. Essentially, if the estate is valued at more than $75,000 or the decedent has been dead for less than two years, then the estate will need to go through formal probate.

What role does a will play in Florida probate?

A will is the most important document in the probate process. The probate process is focused on the decedent’s last will and testament, ensuring that it is valid and that it will be properly implemented according to the terms contained within. Probate is much more difficult without a will because the estate will have to be distributed according to the rules of intestacy, a set of rules that the state has predetermined to decide how an estate can be distributed by default.

How does a personal representative get appointed?

During the first part of the formal probate process, your attorney will prepare all of the filings for the court. One of those filings will include a petition to appoint a personal representative for the decedent’s will. This is normally the person designated in the decedent’s will; however, if the decedent died without a will, then the personal representative is determined by the rules of intestacy.

How long does formal probate take?

There is no exact timeline that formal probate will follow. In the best-case scenario, some simple probate matters can be resolved in as little as six months; however, there are also many instances in which the process can take longer than a year or even two years. It is entirely dependent on the factors involved in your probate case to know how long it might take.

Are there ways to avoid probate in Florida?

Yes, there are a few strategies that can be used to avoid probate in Florida. However, these are highly dependent on taking active steps to plan ahead before the decedent passes away. You can seek help crafting an estate plan with methods to avoid probate, such as reducing the amount of the estate to under the probate threshold with a trust, changing your state or residency, carefully choosing heirs and beneficiaries and other means your attorney can provide. With careful preplanning, probate can be avoided.

How can an attorney help with probate?

In nearly all cases, an attorney can help you with probate by making it a much less complex process by taking on the responsibility of preparing the court filings, appearing in court and managing the process for you. Probate is a difficult process to handle on your own, and an attorney can help you by using their knowledge and experience to resolve issues and prevent delays in the process.