By now our readers in Florida probably understand how important it is to have a comprehensive estate plan in place. For many people, their estate plan will include a will, among a variety of other documents. If an estate plan does include a will, that will is going to need to be submitted for probate upon the planner’s death, in most cases. Understanding the basics of the probate process can help all of those who will be impacted by the distribution of the estate.
In theory, the probate process is fairly straightforward. For starters, the will is submitted and that begins the process of marshaling all of the deceased person’s assets, valuing them if necessary, and making sure that the assets in question are actually subject to the probate process. Some “assets,” for example, do not pass through probate, such as a payout from the deceased person’s life insurance policy to a designated beneficiary.
Once the assets are marshaled, all debts, taxes and fees that are outstanding will be addressed. After that, assuming there are still assets available in the estate, those assets will be distributed as directed in the deceased person’s will. Unfortunately, sometimes there are disputes about a person’s will, or about the probate process itself. For example, someone who feels they have been “cut out” of the will may dispute that the will is valid in some way. Such claims will need to be addressed in the probate court before the process can be finalized.
Make informed choices
For the most part, the probate process does not need to be overly burdensome – with the right information and advocacy. At our law firm, we do our best to help Florida residents get through the probate process as smoothly as possible. For more information, please visit the probate overview section of our law firm’s website.