Three Tips to Consider Regarding Estate Administration in Florida
Estate administration in Florida involves a court-supervised process to determine what heirs will inherit from a deceased person’s estate. In Florida, there are two primary forms of probate administration including:
- Formal administration: This is used when the total value of a decedent’s (i.e., the deceased individual) estate is valued at $75,000 or more.
- Summary administration: Estates valued at less than $75,000 may use this type of administration which includes a more expedited process.
At death, the decedent’s Will is admitted to the probate court and reviewed to determine its validity. Once admitted to probate, the estate administration process is initiated to administer the estate through the court according to the Will. Also, estate administration is used to pay a decedent’s debts, if any.
Estate administration can be complicated, time-consuming, and it can become litigious. If you have a loved one who has recently passed away and you have questions about estate administration, a Melbourne probate attorney at Lacey Lyons Rezanka can explain the process and walk you through it every step of the way. Below are three tips to consider when determining whether estate administration is necessary for your situation.
Tip #1: Take Inventory of All Assets
After a person passes away, it is important to take a detailed inventory of the estate to determine the assets. The personal representative of the estate usually completes this inventory. Florida law provides the details of what needs to be included in an estate inventory. It will typically have a list of all of the estate’s assets and the estimated fair market value of each at the time of the decedent’s death.
Tip #2: Identify Probate vs. Non-Probate Assets
Once the personal representative identifies all assets, it is important to identify which assets count towards the probate estate and which are non-probate assets. Some people assume when someone passes away with assets that estate administration through the court is required. However, that is not always the case. When determining whether an estate should be administered through probate, it is important to ask whether any assets of the decedent are subject to probate. If there are none, then estate administration may not be needed. Assets that have beneficiaries designated, such as a life insurance policy, bank account, or retirement account, will typically pass to the named beneficiary outside of probate unless the beneficiary is the decedent’s estate. However, if an asset only has the decedent’s name on the title without any beneficiary or joint owner, the asset likely needs to be included in the probate estate. An example of this may include a house or automobile in the decedent’s name only.
Tip #3: Speak to an Experienced Melbourne Probate Attorney
The estate administration process can be complicated and overwhelming. If you need help administering a loved one’s estate, you should consult an experienced Melbourne probate attorney. More specifically, an attorney can help you complete the following steps:
- Help you do an initial determination of what assets are a part of the probate estate
- Determine the best approach to administer the estate
- Prepare and file the necessary documents with the court
- Assist you with the inventory and appraisals of assets
- Pay debts, taxes, and other liabilities of an estate
- Distribute assets
- Close the estate at the end of the process