When your loved one passes away, you are often left with many questions and unsure of how to proceed. How do you transfer or sell property? How can you access bank accounts so you can pay final bills? Who is responsible for doing so? The next step to answer these questions is to meet with an attorney who can determine whether or not a probate is necessary.
Probate is the legal process by which a decedent's assets are distributed and their bills can be paid. Not every estate requires a probate but often, for real estate or accounts with no designated beneficiaries, a probate is required in order to legally transfer title.
If a person dies with a will, then the probate court will distribute the assets according to the wishes stated in the will. Often, the will can identify the personal representative ("executor") of the estate, which will be the individual responsible for working with the attorney to collect the assets and distribute them and/or pay creditors.
If a person dies without a will, the Florida Statutes indicate how the assets are to be distributed.
Although the probate court is systematic, each probate case is different. Some cases may only have a couple of assets and wrap up within a few months; in some instances, for cases with large amounts of assets or creditors, or several beneficiaries, a probate can take several months or years to conclude.
At the Law Office of King & Mannion, P.A., we work closely and compassionately with the heirs and beneficiaries in order to determine the most economic and comprehensive method to wind up the decedent's affairs.