When someone passes away and leaves behind an estate, they also might leave behind a will. However, the court needs to determine the validity of the will. They don’t take the document at face value. When there is no will, the court needs to determine what will happen with the deceased’s property.
Here at Redhead Realty, we know how stressful it can be to deal with the death of a loved one. We also know that the probate process does not make mourning any easier. By working with us, you can get through probate as quickly and efficiently as possible. We can help you find a probate attorney and our firm can help you sell any property that remains a part of the estate.
What is a Probate?
Probate is the legal process of reviewing a will to determine whether it is authentic and valid. It also refers to administering of the deceased person’s will or the estate of the person who did not have a will. The court appoints the executor of the will. If there is no will, then the court appoints a personal representative. Those appointed have the legal power to settle all aspects of the estate from collecting assets, paying any remaining liabilities and distributing assets of the estate to beneficiaries per the personal representative or executor.
Whether or not there is a will, the beneficiaries cannot sell any assets until the probate process is complete. In some cases, this can take months or years.
Regardless of the status of the will, there are several steps in the probate process. Either the executor of the will or the court-appointed personal representative will handle the process. They are the ones who must collect all of the assets and handle all other estate matters.
First, the court states whether or not the will is valid. Every state has unique laws regarding wills. The will must comply with all of the laws. If there are missing signatures or other details, the will won’t be valid.
Second, the property of the deceased must be found and inventoried. Then, they are appraised. If there are any outstanding debts that need to be paid, the estate will be used to pay off those debts.
If there are any remaining assets after the debts are paid, the assets will be distributed. Typically, this is done according to the terms in the will. If there is no will, they must be distributed according to state laws.
Who is Involved in the Probate Process?
Several parties may be involved in probate. However, every probate case is different. Depending on the situation, one or more of the following could be involved:
- The clerk of the circuit court
- A personal representative or executor of the will
- A circuit court judge
- An attorney who represents the personal representative
- Those who are claiming the deceased owes them money, such as credit card companies and health care providers
- The IRS (who may get involved for tax matters or owed taxes)
FAQs About Probate in Florida
If you have questions about the probate process, you’re not alone. The process is misunderstood and people don’t often know much about probate. By reading this FAQ, you can learn what to expect.
Who can be a Personal Representative?
There are some restrictions regarding who can be a personal representative. It can be an individual, bank, or trust company. An individual must be a resident of Florida or a close relative of the deceased. Furthermore, they must be 18 or older and capable of performing their duties. Someone with a felony conviction cannot serve as the personal representative.
If there is no executor appointed in a will, the court can appoint a personal representative. Typically, this will be the surviving spouse. If the deceased has no surviving spouse or they refuse to serve as the personal representative, the heirs of the deceased can decide who will be the personal representative. Sometimes, the heirs cannot come to a majority decision. In this case, a judge would make the final decision.
How Long Does Probate Take?
Probate can take anywhere from three months to longer than a year. The amount of time it takes to resolve your case depends on several factors.
Typically, the more complex the case, the longer it takes to resolve. For instance, selling real estate can add time to the process. If you have to sell a home to pay off creditors, you can’t move forward until the sale is complete. This could take months.
If there are any disputed creditor claims, these can also add time to the process. You cannot finish probate until you resolve the dispute claim.
If you have no complications with probate, you still have a waiting period. Probate cases need to remain open for a minimum of three months. This gives creditors time to make their claims on the estate.
The average probate case takes about five or six months to resolve. But you can speak with an attorney to learn how long your case might take.
Why Do You Need an Attorney?
Although a personal representative is not required by law to have an attorney, it’s highly recommended that they work with one. This is because there are many legal issues that often accompany the probate process. Even a small estate with a clear will can come with complications.
A probate attorney in Pembroke Pines, FL can advise the personal representative on their duties. When you have a clear understanding of the scope of your responsibility, you can be more prepared to handle probate.
Your attorney can also represent you during all of the probate proceedings. At several points, you may have to appear before a judge. With an attorney by your side, you can handle the proceedings more smoothly.
One reason most people opt for legal representation is to bring the process to an end as quickly as possible. If you attempt to handle matters on your own, there’s no saying how long the process will take. You need to make the time to do all the work. But an attorney makes your job easier. As a result, the process will be finished in a shorter time. They also may know of ways to expedite the probate.
How Can We Help?
In Pembroke Pines, the median age is 40.1. There are many elderly people living in and near the city. As a result, more and more families find themselves dealing with the death of a deceased family member.
Unfortunately, you might not have the knowledge or experience needed to handle the process. You could feel lost and unsure about how to handle the property of the deceased. But you’re not alone.
Redhead Realty can help with probates when real property is involved. Real property refers to single-family homes, townhouses, condos, duplexes, triplexes, and other multifamily dwellings. Many people don’t know the first step in the probate process. We can direct the person to a reputable attorney to walk them through the probate process. When probate is complete, Redhead Realty will purchase the real property for cash. This lessens the burden of having to fix the property, list the property, wait for a buyer, and hope the buyer qualifies for financing.
Why Should I Contact Redhead Realty Regarding a Probate Situation?
Redhead Realty and our partners have vast knowledge and experience when it comes to probates. We can answer any questions you may have and provide you with any resources you may need.