Probate court is a division of the judicial system that generally handles everything from wills and estates to guardianships and conservatorships and more. Most commonly, probate court is responsible for making sure wills and other documents are authentic and signed by someone deemed mentally stable.
The court is also responsible for deciding who receives what portion of assets and that they are dispersed according to the will. If there is no will, the court will go by other laws set in place that were designed for this circumstance. Ultimately, the role of the probate court is to make sure that a decedent’s debts and assets are distributed to the proper people.
A Breakdown Of The Process
The probate process will begin once the executor presents the will to the court in the same county where the decedent lived or owned property. If there is no will someone must approach the court, usually the spouse or an adult child, to be appointed as administrator of the estate. In some cases, this process can get a bit complicated. However, there are basically four steps in the probate process:
- Filing the petition with the probate court will begin the process of probate and the appointment of the administrator or executor of the will shall be named in what is known as Letters of Testamentary.
- Following the appointment, the executor is required to give notice to any creditors of the estate, and an inventory of any property, real or otherwise, should be taken.
- All expenses from the funeral, outstanding debts, final bills and any taxes must be paid from the estate.
- Following the required waiting period, the executor must petition the court for the authority to transfer any remaining assets according to the specifications of the will. Once permission is granted from the court, new deeds may be drawn up to transfer property, stock and other assets to designated recipients.
Make It Easier For Your Loved Ones
For almost 20 years, Tom D. Waldron, P.A., has been committed to providing unparalleled estate planning and legal services to the Space Coast and Treasure Coast communities in Florida. If you are concerned about the estate you will leave behind, Tom D. Waldron can help. Without an experienced lawyer on your side, the probate process can easily become overwhelming. Contact us today to discuss your concerns and take advantage of our free initial estate planning consultation.