It is stressful to deal with the legal aftermath when a loved one passes away or becomes incapacitated.

Florida probate rules are complex and require expertise. Probate is a legal process used after death to verify and administer an individual’s assets if that individual did not take the proper estate planning steps prior to their passing.

This legal process varies in every State and is required to ensure the proper distribution of assets to beneficiaries/heirs and to pay any unpaid creditors.

It is strongly recommended that you consult with an attorney at the Finity Law Firm to deal with the probate process in Florida to further understand the laws and rules.

A paper with the word probate on it representing probate rules

Understanding Probate

Understanding the Florida Probate Rules is important. Probate is the procedure by which a deceased’s estate is distributed fairly to heirs and appointed beneficiaries and any debt owed to creditors is settled out. In particular, the probate property is allocated according to the last will and testament of the decedent, if there is one, or, if there is no will, according to state intestacy laws.

Beneficiaries in a Florida-administered estate have certain rights as laid out in the Florida Probate Code and the Florida Probate Rules provided under Florida law. The Florida Probate rules govern the procedure in all probate and guardianship proceedings. Fla. Prob. R. Part I applies to all proceedings and Part II applies to probate alone. 

Generally, the assets of the decedent are first used to pay the costs of the proceeding of the probate, then used to pay the funeral costs of the decedent, then the unpaid debts of the decedent and the remaining portion are distributed to the beneficiaries of the decedent.

Florida Probate Law​

Probate is required to transfer ownership of the estate of the deceased to the beneficiaries. If the decedent left a valid will, it will be inadequate to pass ownership of probate assets to the beneficiaries of the decedent unless the will is admitted to probate in court.

Under the laws of Florida, if the decedent did not have a will, probate will be necessary to pass ownership of the probate assets of the decedent to those who are identified as beneficiaries.

There are different types of Probate under the law of Florida which include:

1. Formal administration

Formal probate administration exists at the County’s local Circuit Court where the decedent lived at the time of death.

The process officially begins with the naming of a personal representative or an executor whose primary responsibilities are to identify assets and liabilities of the estate, pay the necessary creditors, and distribute the remaining funds to the proper beneficiaries.

2. Summary administration

Summary administration is available when the total probate assets total less than $75,000 and/or the decedent has been deceased for greater than two years. This is considered the cheaper and faster version of probate that is designed to expedite probate administration for estates that qualify.

3. Disposition without administration

This type usually includes skipping the probate hearing entirely because of a given set of conditions.

It is worth noting that this is only available when the deceased individual has left no real estate at all, and the only assets available for probation are valued for less than the actual total following probation expenses.

For more information on the types of probate in Florida, please check out our resource page here.

Florida Probate Code​

The Florida Probate Code can be located in Chapters 731 to 735 of the Statutes of Florida which is substantive law, and the rules governing Florida probate proceedings can be found in Part I and Part II of the Florida Probate Rules (Rules 5.010-5.530). The Florida Probate Code can be categorized as follows:

  •   Chapter 731 deals with the General Provisions
  •   Chapter 732 deals with Intestate Succession
  •   Chapter 733. covers the Probate code: Administration of Estates
  •   Chapter 734 mainly deals with Probate Code: Foreign Personal Representatives; Ancillary Administration
  •   Chapter 735 covers the Probate Code: Small estates.

The Florida Probate Code is not designed to contain any procedural provisions. Procedural requirements are provided in the Florida Probate Rules.

Why hire a Probate Attorney?

Probate is a tedious court process requiring the submission of documents, the filing of notices, and the informing of scheduled hearings by different government agencies.

There may also be times when a probate judge or a representative of the court will ask for documents to be reviewed, which will abandon you to and from the courts without much notice or time.

Speaking to an expert probate attorney at the Finity Law Firm will help you to skip the courtrooms completely, as an attorney can handle all of those matters on your behalf.

References

  1. https://www.floridabar.org/public/consumer/pamphlet026/
  2. http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/0731/0731.html
  3. https://www.flcourts.org/Resources-Services/Court-Improvement/Family-Courts/Family-Law-Self-Help-Information/Probate
  4. https://allaboutfloridahomes.com/probate/
  5. https://www-media.floridabar.org/uploads/2020/01/Probate-Rules-01-01-20.pdf

Contact us today

Download Your Free Estate Planning Guide

Learn how to protect your family, your assets, and your legacy.

Download Now

Free Consultations

Our Orlando attorneys are standing by to provide you with services you can trust and depend on. We offer free consultations because we know each case is unique.

Book Now
Visit Us
Contact Us

Subscribe to our free newsletter

Sign up for our newsletter to get in-depth legal content, updates to laws and regulations, and free tips to help you navigate the legal landscape, all delivered straight to your inbox. Just enter the information on the form to get started. 

* We respect and take your privacy very seriously. Please review our Privacy Policy.