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Is the decedent’s life insurance policy included in Probate?
It depends. If the life insurance policy has a named beneficiary, then typically the insurance company will release the funds directly to that person after the paperwork is filed. If there is no named beneficiary, then the life insurance policy will be processed as part of the estate. If processed as part of the Estate, the proceeds are subject to creditors claims. If the policy is paid to a named beneficiary, then those funds are exempt from creditors claims. The only exception to paying the proceeds to a named beneficiary is if the funds are necessary to fund a spouse’s elective share.
Is it ever too late to start the probate process?
The short answer is no. Probate initiation is technically plausible for several decades. However, the longer you wait, the more complicated the process may become. For example, if an original heir passes away, then their inheritance would transfer to their own estate, and so on. You could also be subject to other statute of limitations (ie. Electing to take an undivided one-half interest in the homestead estate as a tenant in common must be done within 6 months). The sooner you begin the probate process, the smoother it will go, barring any disputes among beneficiaries.
Who pays the bills of the decedent?
Unless you were a co-signer on a loan or account to which debt was owed, the beneficiaries are not responsible. However, the estate is. All properly filed claims of debtors will be paid out before anything is transferred to the beneficiaries.
Is probate necessary if there is a surviving spouse?
Probate is necessary if the decedent owns ANY property solely in their name. If everything is part of a joint account or has a joint owner with rights of survivorship, then probate wouldn't be necessary.
How are personal representative/attorney fees determined throughout the Probate process?
Personal representative fees will be determined in one of five ways:The personal representative’s attorney’s fees will be determined in one of three ways:
Can a spouse be cut out of a will or trust?
Legally, no. Florida law provides that the surviving spouse may receive an elective share of 30% of the decedent’s elective estate, unless there is a valid pre/post marital agreement. However, the election is not automatic, and is subject to strict election deadlines.
What is the Personal Representative responsible for accomplishing?
The personal representative has a variety of responsibilities:
Do I need an attorney to go through the Probate process?
Florida law requires a personal representative to retain an attorney unless the individual is the only interested party. However, the probate process is complex, and most non-attorneys would have a hard time working through it without the assistance of an attorney.
What is a Personal Representative?
The personal representative is the person, bank, or trust company appointed by the court to be in charge of the administration of the estate. Other terms used to describe the personal representative: executor, administrator.
Who can be a Personal Representative?
The personal representative can be an individual (usually stated in the will), a bank, or a trust company. To qualify as a personal representative, an individual must be either a Florida resident, or a spouse, sibling, parent, child, or other close relative of the decedent. Florida law provides for which persons have priority in serving as the personal representative in the event someone did not have a will.