Formal probate means that by filing a petition for a hearing before the probate court, the estate must be released, and can mean ongoing court intervention. Though some states charge variable probate filing fees depending on the estate’s value Florida levies a flat fee of about $400 for each estate that files for formal probate.

The judge for probate will oversee the administration of the estate closely, and the process goes through 3 phases:

  1. Opening of the estate
  2. Administration of the estate
  3. Closing of the estate
A couple of men shaking hands as they go through the formal Florida probate process

Unless you’re not familiar with the process, the legal and financial challenge you’re undertaking may seem appalling. There’s a lot to do so we find it useful to explain the method in simple terms:

The benefits of a trust can include the ability to:

1. The first step is to file documents with the court to open the probate.

This usually happens after an interested party, often a probate estate beneficiary hires a probate attorney to prepare the paperwork.

Once these procedural steps are taken by our Finity Law attorney, our attorney will then file a Petition for Administration along with some related documents to the correct court.

Filing these initial documents makes the estate a matter of court record, but until the personal representative (PR) is appointed to act on behalf of the estate, the estate is not considered to have been “opened.”

2. The probate court will appoint a PR or executor to act on behalf of the estate after the estate is opened.

The judge must review the case and send administrative letters. Such documents give the PR the authority to proceed and initiate the probate process.

Once probate papers are filed, the PR will inform the estate trust’s surviving spouse, heirs, trustee, and beneficiary of the deceased’s surviving spouse, and other individuals eligible to inherit property that is in progress.

3. Once the time for creditors to file claims expires, or any lawsuits against the estate are dismissed, the estate will be settled

The Florida probate lawyer will file a petition with the court to close the estate. The petition informs the probate judge that all necessary steps have been taken and that the estate is ready for closure.  Occasionally, the judge will ask the probate lawyer for additional details.

The judge must sign an Order of Discharge once all the information is provided.

The Discharge Order frees the PR from his responsibility and ends the estate proceeding. The probate assets must be available for distribution and all the taxes and fees have been charged by the PR. The judge can then approve the petition and allocate the assets to the recipients.

When you are faced with having to go through probate it’s important to work with experts like the Finity Law Firm to ensure it’s done right. Contact us today to learn more.

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