Florida Probate Court Laws of the Deceased

By Heather Frances J.D.

Generally, probate is the process of gathering a deceased person’s estate, paying his final debts and distributing the remaining assets to beneficiaries. Florida’s circuit courts oversee probate cases in accordance with Florida’s probate laws, found in Chapters 731 through 735 of the Florida statutes. These laws address who can inherit from a decedent, as well as how the inheritances are distributed.

Generally, probate is the process of gathering a deceased person’s estate, paying his final debts and distributing the remaining assets to beneficiaries. Florida’s circuit courts oversee probate cases in accordance with Florida’s probate laws, found in Chapters 731 through 735 of the Florida statutes. These laws address who can inherit from a decedent, as well as how the inheritances are distributed.

Wills

When a decedent has a will, it may be admitted to a Florida probate court to start the process of estate administration, unless the estate is so small that it does not require administration. Once the court determines the will is valid, it will likely appoint the executor – or personal representative – named in the will as the administrator of the decedent’s estate. The executor must follow Florida’s probate rules, including the requirements to file certain documents with the court.

Protect your loved ones by a legally binding will. Make a Will Online Now

Intestate Succession

If a decedent didn’t have a will, he is said to have died “intestate,” and probate procedures still apply to his estate. In such cases, courts oversee the distribution of the estate, as prescribed in Florida’s laws of intestate succession. These laws allow the decedent’s close family members to inherit his estate, starting with his spouse and children. For example, if the decedent had no children or had children only with his surviving spouse, his surviving spouse inherits his entire estate. If he had children from a prior relationship, his surviving spouse inherits half of his estate and the children inherit the other half.

Valuing Assets

Many decedents have debts when they die, and creditors are entitled to payment from the decedent’s estate. Probate cases include a three-month waiting period during which creditors must file their claims against the estate, or the claim is forfeited. Typically, the executor pays the creditors’ claims out of the assets in the estate, and sometimes the executor must appraise and sell some assets. Appraisals may also be necessary if the estate’s value is to be split between beneficiaries.

Family Allowance

Probate can take several months or more to complete, and the decedent’s spouse and children may need money to live on in the meantime, so Florida law provides a family allowance that is available if the decedent lived in Florida when he died. The family allowance provides money to the surviving spouse or children to pay their expenses until the probate case is complete and assets are distributed. The family allowance cannot exceed $18,000, which is payable in a lump sum or in installments.

Protect your loved ones by a legally binding will. Make a Will Online Now
What Is a Family Allowance Under Florida Probate Law?

References

Related articles

How to Claim the Rights of a Spouse to Inherit in New Hampshire

Whether there is a will or not determines how a spouse can claim an inheritance in New Hampshire. If a will exists, it dictates the distribution of the decedent’s estate, and it may or may not include a distribution to the spouse. A will allows the drafter himself to determine the beneficiaries of his estate. If no will exists, New Hampshire law dictates who receives the decedent’s estate, through what is called intestate succession.

North Carolina's Inheritance Law

When a person dies with a valid will in North Carolina, his property will pass to the beneficiaries he named in his will. A valid will is one in which the maker is at least 18 years old and mentally competent, and the will was properly signed in the presence of witnesses. Without a valid will, a person's estate passes to his surviving relatives in accordance with North Carolina's intestate succession laws.

Estate Administrator Duties

When a person dies, his estate will likely go through the probate process, whether or not he left a will. During probate, the estate will be collected, debts paid and remaining assets distributed to beneficiaries. The person assigned the duty of managing the estate through this process is called an administrator or executor. Since state statutes govern estate administration, the administrator must follow state law regarding procedures and time frames.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help.

Related articles

What Is the Ohio Code Mandating Probating of Wills?

Ohio’s probate process is mainly governed by Chapter 2113 of Ohio Revised Code, with other pertinent sections ...

Probate Laws for Dying Without a Will in Minnesota

Even when people don’t write a will that dictates how they want their assets distributed when they die, most do ...

What Happens When Someone Dies Without a Will in Nebraska?

If someone dies with a valid will, the will leaves instructions about who should manage his estate and who should ...

Michigan Death Estate Settlement Procedures

When someone dies, her estate must be settled. The settlement process includes following the terms of the will, paying ...

Browse by category