Piercing Probate Mysteries: Frequently Asked Questions About Florida Probate
This article answers key questions about the probate process in Florida, including:
- The role of personal representatives and executors in Florida estate processes,
- The implications of probate on taxes, or of not having a will on probate, and
- The alternatives to probate and how disputes can be resolved in Florida.
Probate, in Florida as in most states, is the legal process that you have to go through to get assets, deeds, titles, and so forth transferred out of the possession of a deceased individual so that it can be dealt with as an estate.
What Is The Role Of A Personal Representative In A Florida Probate Case?
A personal representative is given the legal power to act as the person who passed away. For example, they get the legal authority to sign on behalf of the deceased individual when resolving the estate affairs.
This allows the personal representative to sell property, transfer property, pay bills, or do almost anything that the deceased person would have done had they been alive. The personal representative thus represents and has the signing power for the estate.
Can An Executor Be Removed In A Florida Probate Case?
While it is possible to remove an executor from a probate case in Florida, it is a complicated process. People can fight about anything, including who should be in charge of the estate.
Removing them, however, is a drastic action that requires showing real harm or wrongdoing on the part of the personal representative or executor.
Are There Any Tax Implications Associated With Probate In Florida?
Taxes are a primary consideration during the probate process. You have to pay taxes on the estate, so anything taxable will be dealt with during the process of closing the estate.
Any estate taxes will be paid. Any outstanding taxes that were due for that year will also need to be paid. Taxes can be involved at almost every stage of the process and one of the primary goals of estate planning is to avoid excessive loss to taxation and protect your assets and legacy.
What Happens If There’s No Will In A Florida Probate Case?
It is tragically common, but estates often do not have a will. Florida statutes label these cases as “intestate”. If you died with no will, you died intestate. These statutes also include a list of what happens in an intestate probate case in Florida.
Since a will tells everybody what the deceased would like to have done with their belongings and assets after they pass, if you don’t have a will in place, the state of Florida provides rules for what will happen with your estate.
In practice, this behaves as if the Florida statutes have created a sort of default will which shows how the assets will be divided. The statutes are standard and will be followed to the letter of the law, which means neither the deceased nor their family will have any say in how the assets are distributed and the estate handled.
Are There Any Alternatives To Probate In Florida For Small Estates?
While the entirety of probate can be avoided with proper estate planning tools, there is no way to skip it entirely just because your estate is small if you do not go through estate planning.
However, if you have a very small estate and did not pre-plan, there are slightly easier and faster ways to do a probate. The most notable way is through summary administration, which is just like regular probate but quicker.
How Are Disputes Over Florida Probate Cases Resolved?
Unfortunately, the only way to truly resolve a dispute during probate is by taking it to court. If you argue over who receives an asset, or the validity of a will, it must be resolved through probate rules.
You must file a motion or petition, and then the parties will argue their positions in front of the judge. The judge will make a decision and that will be final, short of an appeal. If you do find yourself in a dispute during probate, you should find an experienced and specialized probate attorney to guide and advise you.
For more information on the Resolution Of Disputes In A FL Probate Case, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (850) 266-7822 today.