Will Probate Law
Probate is a legal process through which a court validates the will of a deceased person. The provisions of that will outline how the debts of the deceased are to be handled, and also how their assets are distributed. Some assets are considered outside the scope of probate, but most fall under the auspices of probate law.
The following points address probate laws in Daytona Beach, Ocala, and Orlando at a very high level. The information presented here is not meant to replace a consultation with an experienced Central Florida probate lawyer.
The first thing the survivors of the decedent should do, once the funeral is arranged, is to locate as many key probate documents as possible, such as:
- Last will or trust
- Bank account records
- Tax returns
- While the funeral director may notify Social Security Administration of the death, the estate administrator should confirm the notification, as well as notification of any entities paying pension or death benefits. This allows probate to proceed.
- There are two kinds of probating and estate administrators in Florida. Trustees, who manage trust assets, and Personal Representatives, who manage estates. Both can, and should hire attorneys, accountants, appraisers, and other professionals to assist them, paying them from the estate assets.
- Assets owned solely by the decedent are subject to probate estate administration. Assets held in a trust are not, and are usually distributed shortly after death.
- Jointly owned assets are not subject to probate estate administration, nor are assets with a named beneficiary, such as an insurance policy or annuity.
- When consulting an attorney, you need not have complete or original documents. Bring whatever you have.
- The kind of probate administration necessary to transfer assets to beneficiaries varies based on the value of the estate, as well as the necessity to appoint an administrator.
- Formal Administration covers estates worth more than $75,000.00, or those where an administrator is needed.
- Summary Administration handles estates worth less than $75,000.00, or where the decedent has been dead for more than two years. This process is less complicated.
Central Florida Will Law
In Orlando, Ocala, Daytona and all of Central Florida, legal wills specify how your estate and assets are to be distributed upon your death. They are highly regulated by both federal and state will laws.
The following highlights address wills at a very high level. The information presented here is not meant to replace a consultation with an attorney experienced in Daytona Beach, Ocala, or Orlando will law.
- Any adult of sound mind may make a will. To be legal, though, the will must be signed by at least two witnesses, be signed, and dated. It need not be notarized.
- Will law protects surviving spouses from being shut out of a will. In Florida, a surviving spouse has a legal right part of your estate, regardless of what your will says.
- Disinheriting children is perfectly legal, but can often be challenged by the child.
- Very few wills are ever subject to will contest. To invalidate a document under will laws, someone must prove to a court that the signature is forged, that you were not in your right mind when you made the will, or that you were influenced by another person when writing your will.
- If you die with no will, your assets are distributed according to laws of intestacy.
An Experienced Ocala Will & Probate Law Attorney
In legal matters involving Daytona Beach probate law or Orlando and Ocala wills, there is no substitute for knowledge and experience. Contact the Florida probate law firm of Jerry B. Wells for quality legal representation today.