Probate can be overwhelming, especially if an estate is complex. That’s why it’s so important for people to consider getting support.
Florida does require executors to be represented by attorneys, but you may want to choose to work with an attorney beyond what’s required by law. If you need support, you need to have someone on your side to help.
- Identify the estate’s assets first
Before you can pay creditors or even dole out the items that beneficiaries will receive, you need to figure out what assets the estate holds. Look for all the possible assets and gather them in one place. Find copies of paperwork for bank accounts, stocks and other investments. Then, you’ll be able to focus on contacting creditors and beneficiaries about the estate.
- Get support when you need it
While some people may have a legal background and be able to handle a loved one’s estate easily, many do not. If you need help because you’re not sure what to do or if you need to pay one creditor or another, then don’t be afraid to seek legal support. In Florida, the executor of the estate needs to be represented by an attorney, so consider finding one who you feel comfortable with and who has the experience needed to help.
- Start the probate process on time
Usually, you only have around 10 days to report the death of the decedent to the court and to file other important legal documents. Failing to file by this deadline can result in problems, so make sure you find out about the timeline as soon as possible once your loved one passes.
- Don’t dole out assets until debts are paid
Remember not to pass out assets to beneficiaries until debts have been paid. Debts must come first, unless assets are passed outside of probate through trusts or other means. If you’re not sure if an asset is free to be passed on, wait.
These are four tips to help you as you work through your loved one’s estate and probate. With help, you can make this process simpler and resolve it sooner.