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Steven A. Mason Steven A. Mason
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Hollywood Probate Administration Attorney

Probate is the process of validating a deceased individual’s will and disbursing his or her assets to his or her loved ones. Depending on the individual’s will or lack thereof, this process can be fairly straightforward or it can be a drawn-out, frustrating process for all parties involved. Generally, individuals create wills and entire estate plans with the intention of minimizing the probate process for their loved ones. To do this, work with an experienced Hollywood probate administration attorney, contact us today.

The Probate Process

The probate process involves determining the validity of a will, paying the deceased individual’s debts, and ensuring that the beneficiaries named in the will receive the assets they were intended to receive. Not all assets are passed through the probate process. One example is assets contained in trusts. These are passed directly to the beneficiaries named in the trust, avoiding probate fees.

Assets noted in wills, all accounts payable to the deceased’s estate, bank and investment accounts solely in the deceased’s name, and real estate solely in the deceased’s name or in which the deceased was in a tenants in common arrangement are all passed to beneficiaries through probate.

What to Expect from the Probate Process

Probate documentation is filed with the clerk of the circuit court where the deceased lived. If there is a will, the executor is named at this point. If there is not a will, an administrator may be appointed for the probate process. The case is assigned a hearing number and the deceased’s heirs and beneficiaries are notified that the probate process has begun.

The deceased’s personal representative must then notify all of the deceased’s creditors so they can make claim to any debts the deceased had. Inventory of all the deceased’s assets is taken at this point so all debts can be satisfied. Estate taxes, funeral expenses, and debts are paid from money in the estate. If the deceased had assets other than bank accounts and cash, these assets may be appraised to determine their monetary value.

After all debts are satisfied, titled assets are disbursed to beneficiaries either according to the guidelines included in the deceased’s will or according to Florida’s intestacy laws, which are the laws that govern the succession of assets in cases where the assets’ owner does not have a will. If your loved one died without a will, discuss these laws with your lawyer to determine how his or her assets will be divided.

Work with an Experienced Hollywood Probate Administration Attorney

Probate can be a time consuming, stressful process and when it is handled solely by the deceased’s survivors, it can easily cause rifts between family members. Avoid causing unnecessary difficulty for your loved ones later by working with an experienced probate lawyer to create a clear, probate-proof will or, if you are the executor of your loved one’s will, work with an experienced probate lawyer to ensure that the process is completed as smoothly as possible. Schedule your initial consultation with The Law Offices of Steven A. Mason, P.A. today to learn more about the probate process.

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