The death of a loved one is a tragic and upsetting event in life.
Add the stress of having to worry about that person's home, belongings, and assets, and it may be too much to handle.
Here is a GENERAL Overview of the Probate Process
- The first step is to publish a notice of administration and a notice to creditors
- Then, the creditors will notify the estate of any outstanding loans or debts
- Next, a personal representative will file tax returns on behalf of the estate to make sure all taxes are paid
- When all debts have been paid, the representative distributes the remaining property or assets to the beneficiary
Is it Ever Too Late to Start the Probate Process?
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. For example, electing to take an undivided one-half interest in the homestead estate (a dwelling where a family makes its home) as a tenant in common must be done within 6 months.
Overall, the sooner you begin the probate process, the better, barring any disputes among beneficiaries.
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 extremely complex, especially when there is no will or a poorly drafted will. Most individuals without a legal background would have a hard time working through the process without the assistance of an attorney.
The guidance of an experienced and compassionate probate attorney will help you navigate this system while minimizing your stress.