What is a Last Will and Testament?
The Last Will and Testament are legal documents expressing your wishes after you pass away. It regards these decisions:
- Mention who gets what from your estate
- Mention who would be your executor (the person who would oversee the probate process and manage your estate's distribution)
- Mention who would be your minor children's legal guardian
- Make decisions about managing your finances for paying bills and managing the money if you become incapacitated.
What is a Probate
Probate is a formal Legal process, more specifically, a Judicial process whereby the Will of a person who has died is recognized by a court of law. Executors or Personal representatives are then appointed by the court to distribute the property/assets among the beneficiaries. Everything is done here under the supervision of the Court of Law and this process requires a lot of patience, time, and money.
This involves organizing the money, assets, and possessions of the dead person and after paying any taxes and debts, they are distributed as per the instructions in the Will.
Read more about Probate.
How to file a Will in Florida?
When the value of assets is more than $75,000; the formal administration process is needed in Florida.
The Process of Probate is explained in the following steps.
1. 10 days deadline for probate filing
The person in possession of the Last Will and Testament of the deceased needs to file it before the probate court within 10 days from the death of the deceased.
2. Granting Letters of Administration
The Florida probate court will recognize the Will and it will issue the letters of administration to the estates’ executor that allows the executor to fulfill their duties against the deceased (that is the administration and distribution of assets).
3. Notifying the Creditors
The next stage in Florida Probate is to notify the deceased's creditors. This is done by the executor of the estate.
Notices are usually published for 2 weeks. 90 days is given to creditors to file their claims.
4. Proving death
The next step is to provide the creditors with evidence that the estate holder has died. This has to be done within 90 days of issuance of the notice.
5. Verified Statement
After giving notice to the creditors, a verified statement has to be submitted in the probate court within 4 months that all the creditors who have claims against the Estate have been checked for them.
6. Validity of Will
The probate now determines the validity of the Will. That is, whether the deceased left the Will or not. The time for this step is not fixed and differs from case to case.
Estate executors have to file their findings to the court after taking the estate into account. Interested parties may, within 30 days challenge the given accountings. If the accounting is contested, probate may take longer than usual.
After the issuance of letters of administration, the executor, within 1 year, is required to submit the distribution receipts of the estate in court.
Distribution is done after all the creditors’ claims have been settled and taxes are paid.
9. Closing of Estate
After the distribution, the executor has to apply for the closure of the Estate in court. Once the court grants the closure, it signifies the end of the probate procedure.