Using a Florida Probate Lawyer in a Probate Case

Thu, Jun 2, 2011


Florida Probate LawyersThe main reason for a probate case is to identify and gather the assets of a deceased person and pass them on to the beneficiary. This would include properties, personal items, and also deciding how debts will be paid.

Under a formal administration of the probate law the decedents assets are used to first pay the probate processing fees, then any outstanding debt that may have incurred, and the rest is given to the decedent’s beneficiaries.

There are specific laws about what would be considered a probate asset and what wouldn’t. A bank account in the sole name of the decedent would be considered a probate asset, but if it was shared jointly it would not be considered as a probate asset and would belong to the joint contributor.

A life insurance policy would not be considered a probate asset, and neither would an annuity contract, or an individual retirement account that is payable to a specific beneficiary. This would just be a  life insurance policy and would be handled according to that law.

Real Estate would also be considered as probate asset as long as it is not a homestead property, and it is titled to the decedent only or with another person as tenants in common. Also any property that is owned by both the decedent and a spouse is not a probate asset but would go directly to the spouse.

It is necessary to have a Florida Probate Lawyer to apply a probate case if there are multiple accounts or possessions that must be divided after a death. If there is no will, then a probate case is also necessary.

In the case that there is no will, Florida probate lawyers can speak in the behalf of persons who might be in line to receive probate assets. If there is no will and no heirs, the State will take responsibility and ownership of the assets. If there are heirs, the assets will be distrusted in an order of priority.

The surviving spouse would be the first in line to receive the assets, if there are no descendents. Descendents would be anyone in a genealogical line down from the decedent. This would include children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews, and other broad descendents.

If there is a surviving spouse and left descendents that are of the surviving spouse and the decedent, the spouse will receive $60,000 plus one half of what is left. The remaining descendants would then receive the remaining half. If the remaining descendents are not from the surviving spouse, the spouse then gets one half of the assets and the remaining descendants split the other half.

If there is no surviving spouse but there are descendents, the probate assets will be divided among the descendents. If say, the decedent had five children but one died before the decedent died, the deceased descendents children would split his portion. If the decedent was not married the property would go to the surviving parents or to the surviving siblings.

It is important to hire a Florida probate lawyer for even the simplest probate estate administration. There can be many problems that can arise and Florida Probate Lawyers would be the best ones to know how to handle them. A Will can mandate that a certain lawyer be used in a probate case but it is not legally binding and the personal representative may choose his own lawyer.

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