Once all taxes, debts, and fees are settled, the assets of the estate may be distributed by the executor. Once all assets are distributed, and all the terms of the will are met, then the probate may close, and the court can dismiss the executor. The Florida Bar has provided a Probate In Florida consumer pamphlet for additional information.
For more probate rules visit our resource page here.
What property enters Probate in Orlando?
Any property owned by the decedent that does not transfer ownership naturally to another individual or lacks a predetermined arrangement to decide the ownership transfer will enter the probate process. It may be easier to understand by explaining assets that would not enter probate.
In Florida, if a spouse (who is legally married) dies, then the parties’ primary domicile typically transfers to the surviving spouse. The ownership interest the surviving spouse receives depends on whether either of the parties has any surviving children.
A bank account that is jointly held with the right of survivorship with another individual or transferable on death does not require probate to transfer ownership. On the other hand, if a bank account does not have any natural beneficiaries, then the account shall enter probate.
Also, a life insurance policy is payable to a particular A person whose benefit to property is held in trust. One designated to benefit from an appointment, disposition, or assignment (as in a will, insurance policy, etc.), or to receive something as a result of a legal arrangement or instrument. “>beneficiary or beneficiaries, the life insurance will pass outside of probate. However, if a life insurance policy is payable to the decedent’s estate, then the policy will become a probate An item that is owned and has value; all the property of an individual that is available for paying debt and/or for distribution.”>asset.
Trusts are a helpful tool that can be utilized for the smooth transition of property from one owner to another by minimizing the need for probate altogether.
What is a Personal Representative or Executor?
The personal representative or executor is an individual, or sometimes individuals, that have been nominated in a will to manage the estate of the deceased. The individual must be affirmed by the probate court. The executor will also oversee the distribution of assets in accordance with the will and ensure they are distributed within an appropriate time frame. The personal representative in Florida can be any individual of at least 18 years of age, and of mental competence, who is fully able to perform the tasks and duties required of them.
If the representative is not an immediate family member or spouse, then they must be a Florida resident to oversee an estate in Florida. The executor may not have any felony convictions unless that requirement was expressly waived by the will itself. The Probate Court will usually confirm the appointment of the executor that was nominated in the will as long as the individual is of legal age, is competent, and possesses the legal standing to do so.
If the nominated representative is viewed as unfit or declines the responsibility, then the court will ask the surviving spouse’s recommendation for appointment. If there is no surviving spouse, the court will ask the beneficiaries of the will for a majority decision for appointing a personal representative. If a majority cannot be obtained, then the court will call a hearing to determine the executor of the will according to who is best qualified to serve. If the decedent dies intestate, a similar process to determine the personal representative is also followed.