Estate planning is highly important for every person who is over the age of eighteen. Unfortunately for their heirs, approximately 60% of Americans make no arrangements regarding their estate despite the fact 100% of Americans will pass away at some point.

If assets are left solely in the name of a deceased individual, there will be many steps involved in the probate process but generally, on every case you can expect to experience the following:

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  • Having to locate the original Last Will and Testament of the decedent. Under Florida law, a person can revoke a will up until their moment of passing by tearing it up, burning it, and even urinating on it! Because of this law, locating the original will is vital to show the court that it has not been revoked. 
  • If the will was not notarized or made “self-proving,” a witness will need to be tracked down to swear an oath that the will was properly executed. This is often a difficult task depending on the age of a will and where it was signed. 
  • Preparing a list of known assets of the decedent as well as searching for unknown assets of the decedent. This has become increasingly difficult with many individuals moving solely to online banking. Many individuals wait for a statement to come in the mail and it will never come. 
  • Identifying creditors of the estate. The most common creditors include credit cards and medical expenses but creditors come in all shapes and sizes. 
  • Acquiring short-version copies of the death certificate. 
  • Collecting money for anticipated funeral expenses, legal fees, court expenses, and other costs. Unfortunately, without knowing the details of the case it can be difficult to estimate expenses but generally, the costs range in the thousands of dollars before it is all said and done. 
  • Locating estate beneficiaries. This can be very difficult depending on how old the will is, the family dynamic, the number of beneficiaries, and their living situations.  
  • Applying for EIN and opening an estate bank account.
  • Receiving proof of payment of the funeral or cremation.

Dealing With Assets Of The Business

When the deceased owns a company in Florida, conflicts occur between heirs and business partners over who is the rightful beneficiary of the business, or parts of the business such as shares, real estate, business equipment, and property rights. These disputes may arise even if a succession plan is specified by the will, but if there is no will or if the will has not been updated to reflect recent changes the situation can be particularly contentious.

If there is a probate disagreement about a Florida business ‘ properties or activities, it is strongly recommended to discuss this with your attorney.

People of Florida will usually have a probate court overseeing their estates. Nonetheless, what exactly does this administration look like can vary. In estates that are particularly small and where an individual is merely seeking repayment of expenses paid, the estate may be disposed of without administration through the disposal of personal property.

Smaller and/or older estates may be administered summarily, but a substantial number of estates will be officially administered.

Being aware of the differences between different types of probate administration and engaging Finity Law to draft an estate plan that expresses your desires can help your family or personal representative.

If you still have questions about the probate process in Florida, we can help!

You can consult with an experienced Finity Law firm attorney to help you handle your situation better, without compromising your resources and benefits.

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