A Florida Probate Attorney Answers Frequently Asked Questions

What is Florida Probate?

Probate is the court process of transferring ownership of a deceased person’s assets to the people legally entitled to receive them. A Florida probate attorney is the professional who can help you complete this process. During probate, lawyers file documents asking a judge to transfer assets to their clients. When the court is satisfied that all legal requirements have been met, the judge will file orders transferring ownership of the decedent’s assets. To learn more about the specifics of Florida probate, read our blog article: What is the probate process in Florida?

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When is Probate Required in Florida?

Probate is required whenever a person dies with assets titled in their name (like a house or bank account). Probate, or “estate administration” is the process that takes place to transfer those assets out of their name. Probate can also be required when a “personal representative” is needed to settle the affairs of the decedent, for instance in order to sue someone who caused the death.

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Does Having a Will Avoid Probate in Florida?

No, even if a person had a will, their assets are still subject to probate. A will tells the judge who should receive what, but the will must be admitted to probate and accepted by the court before the judge will transfer property to the people designated to receive it in the will.

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How Long Does Probate Take in Florida?

The length of probate can vary depending on the type of probate needed in a case, whether there will be a disagreement between different parties in a case (perhaps over the legitimacy of a will), and whether there is real estate that needs to be sold during the probate administration. Generally, probate will be complete in 3 -12 months. Read our blog article here to learn more about the probate process in Florida.

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How Much Does Probate Cost in Florida?

Florida Probate Law Group charges flat fees for probate services, ranging between $1,500 and $5,000. Court costs for probate cases generally range between $350 and $700. These amounts can vary depending on the size and complexity of the estate, what kind of estate administration is needed, and depending on whether the case will be contested. Some law firms charge for probate services by the hour, meaning that the longer they take to handle your case, the more that they get paid. Visit our website for more information about probate and to contact us for a free quote.

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How to Avoid Probate in Florida?

During your lifetime, there are many things you can do to prevent your loved ones from needing to go through the probate process. A trust based estate plan can transfer all of you assets to a trust during while you are living, and have those assets automatically transfer to others when you pass away. “Pay on death” accounts can prevent the need for probate to transfer bank accounts, and “Lady Bird deeds” can be used similarly to let real estate transfer automatically upon death. All of these options must be used prior to death, but each one has the potential to help avoid the need for probate. To speak to an experienced estate planning attorney and get free advice about planning your estate call Florida Probate Law Group at (352) 354-2654.

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What Happens Under Florida Probate Law When There is No Will?

When someone passes away without a will in Florida, their estate is subject to “intestate succession” meaning that it goes to their closest relatives. A spouse is considered your closest relative in Florida, followed by your children, then parents, then siblings. If you would like to arrange a free appointment to determine the intestate heirs of a specific estate, email info@floridaprobatelawgroup.com

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Are Florida Probate Records Public?

Yes, probate records in Florida are public. Some records can be viewed online, while others must be accessed by traveling to the clerk of court or writing a letter requesting copies of documents. If you have questions about a Florida probate case, email info@floridaprobatelawgroup.com and we will help you get answers.

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What is Ancillary Probate in Florida?

If a person lived in another state, and has an open probate case in that state, Florida Probate may still be required if the decedent owned property in the sunshine state. The local probate that happens in Florida to compliment an out of state decedent’s estate in another jurisdiction is called an “ancillary” proceeding. If you need help determining if your loved one needs a Florida probate administration, call Florida Probate Law Group at (352) 354-2654 to speak to a Florida probate attorney.

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Written by: Charles “Cary” David, Esq., a Gainesville FL probate attorney working statewide to help families administer the estates of their deceased loved ones.

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