ص Probate is a court-supervised process for identifying and gathering a dead person’s assets, paying taxes, claims, expenses and distributing their assets.
ص Assets in the decedent’s sole name at death or owned solely by the decedent and which contain no provision for automatic succession of ownership at death are considered probate assets.
ص Probate is necessary to transfer assets to the proper beneficiary. This can be done even if you do not have a Last Will & Testament (“Will”).
ص A Will is a document that should designate a personal representative and identify the names of beneficiaries who are to receive the decedent’s assets.
ص A Will must be signed by the decedent and at least two witnesses. It is a good idea to also have it notarized.
ص Upon death or incapacity, the Will should be filed with the Probate court for proper administration.
ص A person can change or revoke his Will at any time, unless prohibited by law.
ص Life insurance and trusts are not substitutes for a Will. A trust may be used in addition to a Will.
ص Probate papers are filed with the Clerk of the Circuit for the County in which the decedent owned real estate or the County of his residence.
ص Probate proceedings are presided over by a Circuit Court Judge. The Judge appoints a personal representative to be in charge of the Estate’s administration.
ص The personal representative must be represented by an attorney, licensed to practice law in Florida.
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