What is Probate?
Probate is a Court process which is required in the state of Florida if a person dies owning assets which are to pass to beneficiaries or heirs. Probate is required to transfer these assets to beneficiaries or heirs because the assets are titled in the name of the decedent upon passing away. In order to transfer title of an asset after a person passes away, a Court Order is required. The Court Order is obtained through the probate process. Some people think that probate is not required if the person has a will. However that is not the case since assets in a decedent’s name must be transferred to the beneficiaries through the Court Order regardless of the presence of a will. The purpose of a will is to assure that the decedent, rather than the state law, determines who receives their assets.
What Are Probate Assets?
Assets owned or titled solely in the decedent’s name at the time of death are probate assets. Examples of estate assets include, but are not limited to, houses, bank accounts, automobiles, furniture, jewelry, businesses, stocks. Examples of non-probate assets include, but are not limited to, insurance policies with a named beneficiary, bank accounts that are held jointly with a spouse or with a right of survivorship designation, pay on death accounts (POD), in trust for accounts (ITF), or assets owned by a trust.
How Long Does Probate Take?
Generally the probate of an estate takes 9 months provided that the personal representative fulfills his/her duties and responsibilities promptly. If it is a large estate requiring a federal estate tax return, the probate may take as long as 15 to 24 months due to the complexity of the tax issues.