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Probate Process

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Probate Process in Miami

Assisting You through Probate in Miami-Dade County

Probate is a court-supervised process where the decedent's assets are identified and used to pay off the decedent's outstanding debts, and remaining assets are distributed to the decedent's beneficiaries. In Florida there are two types of probate administration: formal administration and summary administration, with summary administration being the simpler form of the two.

Probate only applies to probate assets, which are assets that the decedent owned in his or her sole name at the time of death, or that were owned by the decedent along with one or more co-owners and did not have the provision for automatic succession upon the owner's death. Such assets may include:

  • bank accounts
  • investment accounts
  • life insurance policies payable to the decedent's estate
  • real estate titled in the sole name of the decedent

Probate is an important step in order to pass ownership of the decedent's probate assets to his or her beneficiaries. If the decedent left a will, it will be ineffective and cannot pass ownership until the will has passed through the probate court. If the decedent died without a will, then probate will be necessary to distribute the decedent's assets in the order specified under Florida law.

What Are the Responsibilities of the Personal Reperesentative?

The personal representative has many duties, including identifying and gathering the decedent's assets, publishing a "Notice to Creditors" in a local newspaper, paying valid claims, filing tax returns, and distributing assets to the beneficiaries. If the personal representative mismanages the probate estate in any way, he or she may be held liable to the beneficiaries for any harm they may have suffered.

Typically the judge will appoint the person or institution named in the will to be the personal representative; however, if there was no will, then a surviving spouse may be elected to serve or someone that the heirs believe would act in their best interests. One can reasonably expect that a probate proceeding will take around 5 to 6 months to complete.

Contact a Coral Gables Probate Lawyer Today

For those who are unfamiliar with probate, the process can be highly overwhelming, complex, and time-consuming. If you have been named the personal representative of an estate, it's important that you contact a Miami probate attorney to effectively handle any legal issues that arise.

With 30 years of experience, I can provide you with the information, answers and guidance you need to successfully administer a probated estate. Contact me today!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a living will and a power of attorney? A living will is a legal document that states what type of medical care you wish or do not wish to receive should you become unable to voice your opinions. A power of attorney is a document that you write that appoints someone to make medical decisions on your behalf.
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