According to a recent survey from EstateExec, it takes about 16 months — or approximately 570 hours of work — on average to settle an estate. Settling the final affairs of a decedent and distributing assets to heirs can involve a number of different legal complexities. The surviving family members must trudge through the probate process step by step to settle the estate. In Florida, the probate court will appoint a personal representative who will be in charge of overseeing, distributing, and administering the deceased person's estate.
At Peter J. Snyder, P.A., attorney Snyder is committed to providing outstanding legal services that can help heirs and fiduciaries navigate the often complicated process of probate. As an experienced Florida estate planning attorney, Mr. Snyder is available to evaluate your unique situation and help you understand what to expect during probate proceedings.
If you have been nominated as the personal representative in a will, Mr. Snyder can educate you about your roles and responsibilities and craft an effective strategy that you can use as a guide while you perform your expected duties. Mr. Snyder can walk you through every phase of the probate administration process and help you navigate any key decisions along the way. Attorney Snyder is proud to serve clients in Boca Raton, Florida, and the surrounding communities of Delray Beach and Deerfield Beach.
Probate can be described as a court-supervised process that is often required to administer a decedent's estate and settle final affairs. The probate process typically involves gathering and evaluating the decedent's assets, paying taxes and debts, and distributing the remaining assets to any beneficiaries in accordance with the provisions of the will or Florida intestate succession laws.
Some of the most common assets that go through probate include:
Assets owned exclusively in the decedent's name, such as real estate property and vehicles.
Personal belongings, including household items, jewelry, clothing, and collections.
Any property that is owned as "tenants in common."
Under Florida law, there are three different types of probate. These include formal administration, summary administration, and disposition without administration.
Formal administration, also known as "formal probate," is the standard form of probate. Here, the probate administration will take place in the local Circuit Court of the County where the deceased person lived before their death. The court will appoint the personal representative, usually as stated in the will. He or she will notify beneficiaries, gather the estate's assets, and ultimately administer the estate.
Summary administration is the type of probate process available when the value of the decedent's assets and property going through probate court is $75,000 or less. The probate process is initiated by filing a Petition for Summary Administration. The petition must be signed by the surviving spouse, beneficiaries, or the heirs, depending upon the circumstances.
Disposition without Administration involves bypassing administration in very limited circumstances. This type of probate is only possible if the decedent has no real estate property and the available assets are valued at less than the funeral expenses and medical expenses of the last illness.
The Florida probate process starts when you file for the Petition for Administration and associated documents with the local Circuit Court of the County where the deceased person lived before their death. Next, the circuit court will issue "Letters of Administration" granting the petition and appointing the personal representative. The Letters of Administration will grant the personal representative the legal authority and duty to act on behalf of the estate.
Once appointed, the personal representative or administrator will do the following:
Collect and evaluate the decedent's assets
Take a detailed inventory of the decedent's estate
Notify heirs and beneficiaries named in the Will
Notify creditors of the probate proceedings
Collect all decedent's income, including dividends, interest, claims, rents, and money owed to the decedent
Pay the valid debts and claims of creditors
Settle all debts
File the final estate accounting
Distribute remaining estate property to rightful beneficiaries
Close the estate by filing a petition to discharge the Personal Representative from his or her fiduciary position
When you are nominated as the personal representative in someone's will or an heir to an estate, you may be entitled to settle the decedent's final affairs. However, acting diligently and ethically as a personal representative requires understanding your duties and role, as well as your financial and legal responsibilities. That’s why it is so important that you consult with an experienced estate planning attorney so that you can receive reliable legal counsel and guidance.
Attorney Snyder has the necessary experience and resources to guide and assist heirs, fiduciaries, and personal representative in all estate planning and probate-related matters. As your legal counsel, he can:
Enlighten you about your responsibilities as a personal representative and how to carry them out.
Review the details of the estate plan or Florida intestate succession law
Help you communicate with family members, heirs, and beneficiaries
Help determine the legitimate debts of the estate
Distribute assets to beneficiaries or heirs
Guide you through the probate administration process
Using his extensive legal knowledge, Mr. Snyder will walk you through all of the steps involved in the probate administration process, help manage court procedures, transfer remaining assets to beneficiaries, and mitigate potential liabilities. He will assist you in performing your duties as the personal representative so that this entire process will feel seamless and efficient.
If you’re facing the prospect of probate administration, don’t face this challenge alone. Call or reach out to Peter J. Snyder, P.A. today to schedule a one-on-one case consultation.
Going through the probate process typically involves a number of complex legal challenges. If you’re looking for reliable legal guidance, contact Peter J. Snyder, P.A. today to schedule a case assessment. Attorney Snyder can offer you the detailed legal counsel, assistance, and strong advocacy you need to navigate the probate administration process with confidence. Mr. Snyder is proud to serve clients in Boca Raton, Florida, and the surrounding areas of Delray Beach and Deerfield Beach.