Florida's probate system is carefully designed to identify, gather, and distribute the assets of a deceased person after his death. Though it's time consuming, probate is an important step in preventing estate fraud and mismanagement after death. Based upon the decedent's estate value, the probate process may qualify for the full formal administration or streamlined summary administration. Due to its complex and often confusing nature, probate is best handled with an experienced Wesley Chapel lawyer like Attorney Brian Arrighi and Attorney Laurel Ackley at North Tampa Law Group.
What Is Probate in Wesley Chapel?
Probate is a court-supervised process that follows very specific guidelines set by Florida law. The ultimate goal of probate is to settle an estate by ensuring that debts are paid and assets are distributed appropriately to beneficiaries. Only 'probate assets' must go through probate, which include assets that the decedent owned in his sole name at death, or assets with joint ownership that lacked provisions for automatic succession. The total value of the decedent's probate assets determines which form of probate is required: formal administration, summary administration, or disposition without administration.
The Three Forms of Florida Probate
Summary administration is the form of probate that many Florida estates aim to use because it offers a simpler and streamlined process. An estate can qualify for summary administration if the death occurred more than two years ago or if the value of the estate assets that must go through probate are worth less than $75,000 and there are no creditors. Formal administration, on the other hand, is a more complex process for higher value estates.
The third form of probate, disposition without administration, actually makes it possible to circumvent the probate system when the decedent leaves behind very little and the person who pays for the funeral and other final expenses needs to request reimbursement from the estate's assets. An estate only qualifies for disposition without administration if the deceased person did not leave any real estate assets and all other assets are either exempt from creditors' claims or don't exceed the amount of final expenses.
Why Do You Need a Probate Attorney in Wesley Chapel?
With the exception of estates that qualify for disposition without administration, Florida law mandates that all probate processes employ the services of an attorney. Even if an attorney was not required, the probate process is so complex that working with a Wesley Chapel probate attorney is the only way to avoid frustrating and potentially devastating mistakes and pitfalls. The attorneys at North Tampa Law Group are probate experts that can guide estate executors through the probate process and ensure that your loved one's Wesley Chapel estate is settled as quickly and efficiently as possible. To request a consultation, call (813) 534-4026 now.