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Florida Probate Administration

What is probate?

Probate is a court process for distributing the property of someone who died (called the decedent). If someone dies that has a will, the probate court will distribute property as specified in the will.  If someone dies without a will, the probate court will distribute the property in accordance with Florida law (called the law of intestate succession). Some property, like property in a trust, joint accounts with the right of survivorship, life insurance proceeds (usually), and homestead property do not have to go through the probate process.

 

How long does probate take?  

'Probate can be a lengthy process.  Even if it is a relatively simple estate, it usually takes longer than six months. If there are issues, such as a challenge to the will or complicated assets, it will take longer. For some smaller estates, Florida has a shorter process called summary administration, but there are pros and cons to that faster process. A qualified Florida probate attorney can help make probate as efficient as possible. 

Is a lawyer required for probate in Florida?
If the estate has non-exempt assets (a legal term) of $75,000 or greater, the estate will have to go through formal probate administration and a lawyer is required to represent the "personal representative" (called an executor in other states). The probate court requires that the lawyer's fee must be reasonable and has set forth what the Court considers to be reasonable fees in the law.  We give a personal evaluation of your case and quote you a fair price, rather than taking an automatic percentage. 

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