There are several steps that a person must generally take when attempting to open a probate estate in Florida or most other states. The first step is to find the original will and read over it carefully. This document will likely inform the reader of who was appointed to represent the estate during probate as well as who an estate’s beneficiaries are. If a trust was created under the will, the will should list the name of the trustee tasked with overseeing it.
It is important to contact the executor of the estate, a trustee or other parties who need to be notified of a person’s death as quickly as possible. It will also be necessary to gather important documents, such as a car title, deed to a home or bank statements, prior to opening a probate estate. After creating a list of the deceased individual’s assets and debts, a meeting should be scheduled with an attorney.
This meeting should be attended by the estate representative as well as any beneficiaries listed in the will. After this meeting, a petition to begin a probate proceeding will be submitted to a judge in the state or county where the individual died. Once the petition has been approved, the executor can request access to bank and other accounts that the deceased person had control over.
A probate attorney may be able to help an executor settle an estate’s affairs in a timely manner. This may be done by handling challenges issued by creditors or family members who believe that they should have been included in the will. A legal professional may also be able to work with state or federal government agencies to resolve any issues that may arise before, during or after a tax return is submitted.