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Articles

Top 5 Reasons That Florida Families Will Look to Estate Planning

As the year comes to an end, families all across the State of Florida are meeting with attorneys to “get their affairs in order.” There are many valid reasons to plan for the futures of your family and loved ones. I have provided the five most common reasons that families are now looking to do […]

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Are there Alternatives to Formal Administration?

Yes, under Florida law there are several abbreviated probate procedures. If the estate is valued at less than $75,000, “summary administration” may be available if the decedent’s debts are paid, or the creditors do not object. Those who receive the estate assets in a summary administration will remain liable for claims against the decedent for […]

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Does the Decedent’s Family Have any Special Rights?

Yes, the decedent’s surviving spouse and children may be entitled to receive probate assets from the probate estate. Florida law protects the decedent’s surviving spouse and certain surviving children from total disinheritance, even if the decedent’s will gives them nothing. For example, a surviving spouse may have the right to the decedent’s homestead property. The […]

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Does the Estate have Obligations to Estate Creditors?

Yes, one of the main purposes of probate is to ensure that the decedent’s lawful debts are paid in an orderly fashion. It is the role of the personal representative to make a diligent effort to give notice of the probate proceeding to “known or reasonably ascertainable” creditors. This allows the creditors the opportunity to […]

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Who Oversees the Probate Proceedings?

The circuit court judge will supervise the probate proceedings. The judge will rule on the validity of the will, or, if the decedent did not have a will and died intestate, the judge will confirm the identities of the decedent’s heirs as those who will receive the probate estate. When the decedent’s will names a […]

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What Assets are Probate Assets?

Assets that the decedent owned in his or her name only at time of death are probate assets. Assets that were owned by the decedent and another person and lacked any stated provision for ownership after death are also considered probate assets. For example, a bank account or investment account that is only in the […]

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Where are Probate Papers Filed?

The documents required in order to begin the probate proceeding will be filed with the clerk of the circuit court. This usually happens in the county where the decedent lived at the time of death. A filing fee needs to be paid to the clerk. The clerk will assign a file number and then maintains […]

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How Long is the Probate Process?

The length of the process will vary from estate to estate. In a summary administration where the decedent has been dead for more than two years, the process could be completed in a matter of weeks. If the estate is more complex, it could take a year. If real estate needs to be sold by […]

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Who May be Involved in the Probate Process?

Any or all of the following may be involved in the probate administration of a decedent’s estate: Circuit court judge Clerk of the circuit court in the county where the decedent was domiciled at the time of the decedent’s death Personal representative Attorney providing legal advice to the personal representative throughout the probate process Those […]

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Do the Personal Representative and Attorney for the Personal Representative Receive Compensation?

Yes, the personal representative and the attorney for the personal representative are entitled to reasonable compensation by law. Florida law provides a schedule of what are “reasonable fees.” Typically this amount is based upon the value of the probate estate. As a general rule, 3% of the estate value is considered reasonable compensation. However, the […]

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