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Florida Probate in a Nutshell

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Probate is a legal term for the court-supervised process of determining what happens to a person’s property after they pass away. The probate process varies widely under Florida law depending on the types of assets, the validity of the will, and many other factors. A Florida probate attorney can help determine the necessary steps to take after the death of a loved one, as well as advise you on whether or not to create a revocable trust to avoid the probate process.  Please review our probate page for a list of actions steps to take.  

How Does Probate Work?

First steps in the formal probate process include actually “opening the probate.” This basically means beginning the legal process.  Next, determine the steps to take by determining whether or not the deceased person left a will or died intestate (without a will). If there was a will, a court will determine if it is valid or not.  When unsure, search the house for any legal fees paid to an attorney.  Consider asking close friends if anything was said about speaking to an estate planning attorney.  From there, a few other things need to be squared away such as whether anyone contests the will or there are any debts that need to be settled.  Finally, an inventory and distribution of the property.

Small Estate Probate (or Summary Administration) in Florida

For someone with few assets and no real property, probate can be an unnecessary expense to avoid. Most states have special rules for these situations that allow the decedent’s family and beneficiaries to complete a shorter, less expensive version of probate. In Florida, this process is called “summary probate” or “summary administration” and applies to estates with under $75,000 of assets.  There is also a simplified “homestead” administration which will allow the court to determine the homestead status of real property.

Next Steps

Dealing with the death of a loved one can present a variety of legal challenges, but we are here to make the probate process a little easier. If you need assistance with Florida probate, estate planning, and other legal issues, simply contact us.  If the estate has more assets, we can help you through a Formal Administration.  We practice probate in all Florida counties.  

Lori Vella is an Estate Planning and Business Attorney. She works virtually throughout Florida and New York, but has her home office in Tampa, Florida. She is mom to a little boy which ignited the passion for helping other families. She and her son enjoy car rides, playgrounds and taking mini-adventures. They also have an organic garden that surprisingly yields vegetables. Lori considers herself well-versed in Seinfeld and welcomes any trivia!

Disclaimer: The Law Office of Lori Vella’s website contains general information directed to Florida residents. This firm does not intend to give legal advice through its pages and/or blog. If you need legal advice, we encourage you to find an attorney licensed in your state. This language on this website does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and this firm.

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