When a person dies, family members have many issues to face. From personal grief to organizing funeral or memorial service events, the process can be overwhelming. In addition, there may be many personal affairs to handle on behalf of the person who has passed away. Most Florida residents have likely heard references to probate and know that it pertains to estate administration before but may lack a full understanding of exactly what this is.
According to the Florida Bar website, probate is the formal legal process by which the assets and debts of a deceased person are managed. This involves both the payment of any debts as well as the assigning of assets to any beneficiaries or heirs. The costs associated with the probate process itself are always the first to be paid from the estate. After that, other debts will be paid. It is only after this point that assets are distributed to other parties such as family members, charitable institutions and more.
The Florida Courts website indicates that any asset owned in full by the deceased party can be considered probate assets. Additionally, assets that are co-owned with at least one other party can fall under the jurisdiction of probate if there were no provisions set forth for succession in the event of death. Retirement accounts, insurance policies, bank account funds and real estate are just some examples of items that can be deemed probate assets after death.
Probate can be experienced even if a valid will is in place. People in Florida should make sure to have a good understanding of the post-death process for handling payment of debts and the allocation of assets to other persons or entities.