While the term probate can conjure forth images of a complicated legal process, it is really just an orderly way of having the court supervise the division of a person’s assets – including the execution of a will – after they’ve passed away.
Our team can help with this process and ensure that each step goes as smoothly as possible – which can be invaluable at a time that is most likely very emotional and stressful.
Summary of the Probate Process
The Florida probate process is a legal process through which the assets and debts of a deceased person are settled and distributed to their heirs or beneficiaries. The probate process is governed by the Florida Probate Code and can be complex and time-consuming. The following is a general overview of the Florida probate process and timeline.
Opening the Probate
The first step in the probate process is to open the probate by filing a petition with the court in the county where the deceased person lived. The petition must be filed within two years of the date of death, and it must be filed by the personal representative of the estate. The personal representative is typically named in the deceased person’s will, but if there is no will, the court will appoint a personal representative.
Inventory and Appraisal
After the probate is opened, the personal representative must identify and gather all of the deceased person’s assets and prepare an inventory of those assets. The personal representative must also have the assets appraised to determine their value. This must be done within 60 days of the personal representative’s appointment.
The personal representative must also notify all known creditors of the deceased person’s death and the opening of the probate. The creditors have a certain amount of time to file claims against the estate, which is usually 90 days from the date the notice is published in a local newspaper.
Distribution of Assets
Once all debts and taxes are paid, the personal representative can distribute the remaining assets to the heirs or beneficiaries. This can be done only after the court approves the final accounting of the estate. The final accounting must be filed with the court within 12 months of the personal representative’s appointment.
The timeline for the Florida probate process can vary depending on the complexity of the estate and any disputes that arise. However, the following is a general timeline for the Florida probate process:
- Within 60 days of appointment, the personal representative must prepare an inventory and appraisal of the estate assets.
- Within 90 days of the notice to creditors, creditors may file claims against the estate.
- Within 12 months of appointment, the personal representative must file the final accounting with the court.
- The probate process typically takes six to nine months to complete, but it can take longer if there are disputes or complications.
The Florida probate process is a legal process through which the assets and debts of a deceased person are settled and distributed to their heirs or beneficiaries. The process can be complex and time-consuming, and the timeline can vary depending on the complexity of the estate and any disputes that arise. It is important to work with an experienced probate attorney to navigate the process and ensure that the deceased person’s wishes are carried out.
Summary of Trust Administration
When a person dies in Florida, the process of trust administration begins. This process involves managing and distributing the assets and property of the deceased person to their beneficiaries. Here is a step-by-step guide to the initial stages of trust administration in Florida, including any applicable timelines.
- Review the trust document: As soon as possible after the death of the person, the trustee should review the trust document to understand the deceased person’s wishes for their assets and property. The trustee must determine if they need to file a Notice of Trust within 60 days of the death of the person, which is required by Florida law. The trust document should outline who the beneficiaries are, how the assets should be distributed, and any other important details about the trust. If there are any questions or ambiguities in the trust document, the trustee may need to seek guidance from an attorney.
- Identify the assets: Within 60 days of the death of the person, the trustee must identify all of the assets that are included in the trust. This may include bank accounts, investments, real estate, and personal property. The trustee may need to review financial records and other documents to ensure that they have a complete list of all assets.
- Notify beneficiaries and creditors: As soon as practical after the death of the person, the trustee must notify all of the beneficiaries named in the trust that the trust administration process has begun. The trustee must also notify any creditors of the deceased person’s estate. This is addressed within the Probate Administration, if needed.
- Obtain a tax identification number: The trustee will obtain a tax identification number for the trust. This number will be used to report income and expenses related to the trust on tax returns. The trustee may need to work with an accountant or tax professional to ensure that all tax obligations are met.
- Create an inventory: Within 60 days of the death of the person, the trustee must create an inventory of all assets included in the trust. This inventory should include a detailed description of each asset and its value. The trustee should keep this inventory up to date throughout the trust administration process.
- Manage the assets: The trustee is responsible for managing the assets included in the trust as soon as possible after the death of the person. This may include investing assets, paying bills and expenses, and making distributions to beneficiaries according to the terms of the trust. The trustee must act in the best interests of the beneficiaries and must avoid any conflicts of interest.
- File required documents: The trustee must file any required documents with the court and other government agencies. These may include tax returns, estate tax returns, and other legal documents. We will work with you to determine which documents will need to be filed and the timeframe for each.
- Keep accurate records: The trustee must keep accurate records of all transactions related to the trust as soon as possible after the death of the person. This includes receipts, bank statements, investment reports, and other financial documents. The trustee should keep these records organized and easily accessible in case they are needed in the future.
Overall, trust administration in Florida can be a complex process, and it is important for the trustee to seek guidance from an experienced attorney or other professionals as needed. By following the steps outlined above and meeting any applicable timelines, the trustee can help ensure that the deceased person’s wishes are carried out and that their beneficiaries receive the assets and property they are entitled to.
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