The term probate is used in several different ways. It can refer to the filing of a will with a court office, but is more generally known as the process supervised by the court to identify and distribute the decedent’s assets to the beneficiaries, while also paying his or her lawful debts. The probate process helps transfer your estate in an orderly and supervised manner. The cost of the probate proceeding is paid for through the decedent’s assets first, then the decedent’s lawful outstanding debts are generally paid, and the remainder of assets are distributed to the beneficiaries. The estate will go through probate whether or not a will is in place.
Under Florida law, there are generally two types of probate administration: formal administration and summary administration. There is another type of administration that is not supervised by the court; it is a proceeding called “Disposition of Personal Property without Administration.” The Florida Probate Code is found in Chapters 731 through 735 of the Florida Statutes. There are also court rules governing Florida probate proceedings.