For many of us, issues surrounding probate and estate administration are unfamiliar. Issues regarding distribution of property or documenting the inventory of an estate are handled all the time by professionals in the field, but rarely by individuals. This means that working with a Florida attorney with substantial experience in probate and estate administration matters is often a wise decision.
This area of the law uses many terms that have a specific meaning with respect to probate and estate issues -- ones that are not necessarily familiar to those who have to get up to speed in a hurry after the death of a loved one. Here are a few common ones that Orlando-area residents should familiarize themselves with.
Probate is the estate administration process. It is overseen by the court, in order to distribute the deceased person's assets to the relevant recipients. There are two processes in our state for probate: formal administration and summary administration. Smaller estates and cases in which more than two years have passed since the person's death are often handled by summary administration, where formal administration encompasses larger estates.
Formal administration requires a personal representative to be named. This person is responsible for gathering assets, paying any outstanding debts and distributing assets to beneficiaries.
If someone dies without a will, this person is said to have died intestate. This can make the probate process more involved and complicated. In any case, speaking with a probate attorney can provide peace of mind for those in this situation.
For further information about the process, please visit our Orlando FAQs About Wills And Probate page.