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How does one start the probate process?

On Behalf of | Jul 1, 2021 | Probate |

One of the unfortunate facts of life is that everyone in Florida will pass away at some point in time. People pass away in different ways and at different times in their lives, but ultimately everyone will pass away. Throughout their lives though people acquire various property that they use and enjoy while living. These belongings stay here though when they pass away and need to go to people who are still living.

Who receives the property depends on whether the person has a will or not, but typically the property will be left for family members and friends of the deceased. In many situations though people receiving the property cannot simply go and pick it up as they choose. Before they receive the property, the decedent’s estate must go through the probate process. This is a court proceeding which oversees the distribution of the property in the estate and ensures it is given to the appropriate individuals.

Steps to take at beginning of probate

The probate process starts with submitting the will to the court, if there is a will. Once the will is accepted, the personal representative named in the will must give notice to the surviving spouse if there is one, the beneficiaries in the will and a trustee if a trust is created in the will. The notice must state the name of the court, the name and address of the personal representative, the date of the will and the rules regarding their ability to challenge the validity of the will and claim exempt property.

There also must be a notice to creditors stating the name of the court of the probate proceeding, the name of the personal representative and must state the time frame the creditor has to make a claim against the estate.

It is not something people want to go through, but after a loved one passes away, probate of the estate must occur. It can be a complicated process for the personal representative and potentially the beneficiaries depending on the circumstances. Experienced attorneys understand the process and could help guide one through it.




Photo of Jennifer D. Sharpe