Florida law provides a process termed “probate” for managing a deceased person’s assets upon death, and distributing property to designated beneficiaries or heirs. There are rules for opening a case and requesting appointment of a personal representative to handle the decedent’s affairs, so it’s important to consult with a Coral Springs probate attorney about the process. Some general information can help you understand how it works.
Petition for Administration: You officially open a probate estate by filing a Petition for Administration with the court in the county where the decedent resided; depending on whether the decedent had a will, you file for a testate or intestate process. In the Petition, you request that the court issue Letters of Administration to give you the power to manage and distribute estate assets.
Any person with an interest in the estate can file a Petition for Administration, though Florida law designates the individuals that are given preference. If there is a will, the person named as executor is likely to be appointed. For intestate estates, the surviving spouse gets priority, followed by anyone selected by a majority of the heirs. The next preference would be close relatives.
Other Documents: There are additional documents to open probate in Florida, though not all of these are required for every case:
- The decedent’s will, if any;
- Oath of Personal Representative;
- Affidavit of No Florida Estate Tax Due;
- Notice to Creditors; and,
- Notice of Administration.
You may be required to obtain a surety bond, depending on the circumstances. This is a sort of insurance policy that protects estate assets in the event of any wrongdoing. This requirement may be waived by will.
If you’re involved with a probate estate after the death of a loved one, it’s smart to consult with a lawyer about the process. Coral Springs probate attorney Richard S. Pillinger can assist with probate, whether the decedent left a will or died intestate. Please contact our Coral Springs office at (954) 755-5199 with questions or to discuss your situation in more detail.