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Upon your loved one’s unforunate passing, their estate may have to undergo to the probate court in the county where they resided or otherwise where they owned their property. This process is notorious for being complex, but may be made easier with the proper legal representation. Follow along to find out how the probate process works and how a proficient Broward County probate lawyer at The Probate Lawyers can help you through it.

How does the probate process work in the state of Florida?

Generally speaking, the end goal of the probate process is to have your loved one’s assets administered to their designated heirs and beneficiaries, as per the terms outlined in their established will. More specifically, the probate process in the state of Florida works in the following sequence of events:

  1. A petition for administration must be filed with the circuit court in the county where your loved one resided or owned property.
  2. An executor (i.e., personal representative) must be appointed to manage the estate.
  3. The heirs, beneficiaries, creditors, and other interested parties must be informed of the upcoming proceeding.
  4. The assets of the estate must be identified and inventories by the executor.
  5. The debts and taxes of the estate must be paid for by the executor.
  6. The remaining assets of the estate must be distributed by the executor to the appropriate heirs or beneficiaries.

What happens to this process if there is no will?

It is worth mentioning that the aforementioned process may work entirely differently if your loved one has passed on without a will. The same goes even if your loved one created a will, but the court deemed it as invalid and unenforcable. This means that you may have to comply with Florida’s laws of intestacy.

With these laws of intestacy, instead of a designated executor, an administer may be appointed to manage the estate. Then, this administrator will distribute assets according to intestate succession. In the state of Florida, the first to inherit the assets is the surviving spouse. If there are no children, then the spouse inherits it all. And if the children have passed prior to the parents, then the grandchildren may inherit their portion of the estate. Under this law, stepchildren and stepgrandchildren are, sadly, not incorporated.

Unfortunately, this distribution may not go in the way that your loved one would have desired. Subsequently, this may prompt disputes to arise amongst your family members. This is all to say that, when it comes to a legal process as intricate as this one, you should not go through it alone. Rather, you should have a talented Broward County probate lawyer from The Probate Lawyers stand by your side. Contact our firm today.