Losing a loved one can be devastating, and it can be even more complicated and difficult by legal paperwork. A probate administration will be required to identify and notify creditors, handle any claims of creditors, secure estate assets, distribute estate assets to beneficiaries, file tax returns, and otherwise handle any estate matters if the decedent owned assets (or was entitled to assets) in his or her name. For example, if a person dies (the decedent) and that decedent owns a home in his or her name (without a joint owner), that home will need to be included in a probate estate in order to clear title to the home before it can be sold.  Certain types of assets, such as life insurance policies, IRAs, and 401ks, often list beneficiaries.  Accordingly, those assets would not be subject to probate, assuming there are valid beneficiary designations in place, and those beneficiaries are still alive at the time of the decedent’s death. 

The probate administration is a court process which may be lengthy and costly, and may cause unnecessary stress to a decedent’s loved ones.  If the decedent died with a will, the estate is testate.  If the decedent died with no will, the estate is intestate.  If a person dies without a will, the laws of the state of Florida will dictate who has priority to administer the estate, who receives the assets, and in what shares the beneficiaries receive the assets.  Oftentimes, the default inheritance laws (intestate succession) does not reflect the decedent’s wishes.  Further, there may be additional unintended outcomes of not having a will or trust such as the requirement to establish a court-supervised guardianship if a minor or incapacitated person is a beneficiary, or the loss of state benefits by a beneficiary. The legal representation you choose can help the probate process proceed smoothly and with less stress. At Kruse Law, P.A. our lawyers are highly qualified and experienced in estate administration.  We will compassionately and skillfully guide you or your loved ones through the probate process.