Probate Attorney, Markeishia L. Smith: Serving Winter Haven, Lakeland, Bartow, Haines City, Polk County, and Central Florida.
Call (863) 866-9917 today to schedule a confidential consultation with Probate attorney, Markeishia L. Smith.
Probate is the process of settling and distributing the Property and Assets of an estate in the event of your passing. If the assets of the estate are less than certain final expenses of the estate, Probate may not be necessary.
A Last Will and Testament is often the guiding principle when going through the Probate process.
Essentially there are two methods of going through the Probate process:
- Summary Administration Probate: is normally done when the estate has less than $75,000.00 in property and assets OR the death occurred more than two years ago. In a Summery Administration, the executor or any party that inherited property or assets will file the Petition for Summary Administration. The Petition must be verified by the spouse (if one exists). The petition includes an assertion that the estate qualifies for Summary Administration, assets are disclosed, and who the assets will be transferred to. Once the court determines that the estate does in fact qualify for Summary Administration, the court will issue an order to release the property and assets to the parties that are to inherit the estate property and assets. The issued court order may be used for verification with a bank authorizing you to take over the account pursuant to the Probate Order.
- Formal Administration Probate: is done when the value of the estate exceeds $75,000.00 in value. A formal Administration will typically take up to 4 months to complete. Typically the only delays will be if a probate is contested when someone is challenging the Last Will and Testament, or if there is property that must be disposed of. Again, if there is a Will, the Last Will and Testament will guide the Probate process. During Formal Administration Probate, all known creditors must be notified. If you do not know if other creditors exist, you should publish notice of the probate in the local news paper for two consecutive weeks to put creditors on notice that they have 90 days to submit their claim against the estate. if you are aware of specific creditors, you should directly notify them by phone or letter. If you notify creditors directly, they then have 30 days to respond. If the creditors do not respond within the allotted time, they statutorily lose the right to bring a claim against you (the estate).
If you have questions regarding your Probate legal needs, contact our office today.