The probate process is the sole means for a court to determine the property rights of heirs and beneficiaries after a person’s death. To accomplish this, it uses a combination of the state’s intestacy laws and the contents of a decedent’s will.
To initiate the probate process in Fort Lauderdale, a private citizen must submit a petition to the court. The court will then act to authenticate a will and empower a personal representative to oversee probate. That representative is then solely responsible for ensuring that a decedent’s wishes become a reality. Marc Brown, P.A., our experienced probate attorney, can provide more information about the probate process in Fort Lauderdale, along with guidance for personal representatives and heirs.
Initiating the Probate Process
In most situations, probate must occur anytime that a person in Fort Lauderdale or elsewhere in the state dies. Probate is the only way to ensure that a person’s estate receives the appropriate care and maintenance. Even so, the probate courts that oversee the process are powerless to begin unless a private citizen files a formal petition with the court.
Florida Statute §733.202 states that any interested party may initiate probate. In their petition to do so, the law requires that information about the decedent’s death and a copy of the will must be included. In addition, the people submitting these petitions have only ten days after the person’s death to request a start to probate. Our knowledgeable attorney in Fort Lauderdale can provide more information about and what is necessary to initiate the probate process.
Authentication of a Will in Fort Lauderdale
Once a court accepts a case for probate, its first step is to determine whether the will that it has received attached to a petition is authentic. By state law, a will that contains the signature of the testator, as well as those of two witnesses, is presumptively authentic. However, any interested party has the opportunity to contest this presumption. Our motived lawyer can help you complete this essential step in the probate process.
Personal Representative Carries out the Probate Process
Every estate in Fort Lauderdale needs a personal representative to complete probate. These people or organizations derive their powers from the court. When a court appoints a personal representative, it will give that party letters testamentary that empower the party to open bank accounts and take temporary control over estate assets. That personal representative must then inventory estate assets and provide regular reports to the court.
Personal representatives have two main responsibilities while in control of an estate during probate, which a motivated lawyer in Fort Lauderdale can help them perform.
They must pay the estate’s debts. Personal representatives must provide a list of creditors to the court when initiating their roles, and these creditors have first priority when the time comes to distribute assets.
Distribute Property to Heirs
The representative must distribute the remaining property as required by the terms of the will or provisions of the intestacy laws. It is when all estate property has gone to the proper parties that probate can come to a close.
Contact a Fort Lauderdale Attorney to Better Understand the Probate Process
Probate is an essential process that helps to ensure the proper distribution of the assets of the deceased. It begins when an interested party submits a petition to the probate court within ten days of the person’s death. This petition must contain a copy of the will.
The court will then act to empower a personal representative to oversee the administration of the estate. That representative must take temporary control of assets, pay creditors, and distribute the remainder to the estate’s heirs. Reach out to our trusted attorney, Marc Brown, P.A., today to discover more about the probate process in Fort Lauderdale.