Frequently Asked Questions About Florida Probate Inventories
One of the first–and most important–tasks of formal probate administration in Florida is filing an inventory of the estate with the court. Basically, an inventory is a list of assets that belong to the probate estate. By law, the personal representative of the estate must prepare the inventory and send a copy of it to certain interested persons.
Below are some frequently asked questions regarding probate inventories.
When Does the Inventory Need to be Filed?
Under Florida Probate Rules, the personal representative must normally file an inventory within 60 days of receiving his or her appointment. The personal representative may ask the probate court for an extension of time if necessary. In some cases, an inventory may be filed before the personal representative is appointed; in those cases, it is not necessary for the personal representative to file a new inventory.
What Assets Must be Listed in the Inventory?
Section 733.604 of the Florida Statutes states a probate inventory must list all of the “property of the estate, listing it with reasonable detail and including for each listed item its estimated fair market value at the date of the decedent’s death.”
Does the “Property of the Estate” Mean Everything the Deceased Individual Owned?
Not necessarily. Many assets do not pass through probate and are therefore not part of the probate estate. For example, property previously placed in a trust are non-probate assets, as is any property jointly owned with another person. Additionally, any account that relies on a “beneficiary designation,” such as an IRA, typically does not count as part of the probate estate.
Does the Inventory Need to Include Property Subject to Florida’s Homestead Exemption?
The standard inventory form used by Florida probate courts requires the personal representative to list all real property owned by the decedent. This includes any property subject to Florida’s homestead exemption. However, such property is not part of the probate estate. It still needs to be listed for informational purposes and expressly identified as exempt homestead property.
What About Real Property Outside of Florida?
Similarly, the inventory form generally requires disclosure of any real estate owned in another state. But such property is not subject to probate in Florida. Instead, the personal representative may need to open a secondary or ancillary probate in the other state to administer that property.
What Is the “Fair Market Value” of Inventory Property?
In this context, fair market value refers to what the market price likely would have been for the property on the day of the decedent’s death. For assets like stocks, this is usually determined by looking at the average trading price on that day. For more complex assets like houses or commercial real estate, it may be necessary to have a professional appraiser estimate the fair market value.
Do You Need Assistance from a Qualified Florida Probate Attorney?
If you have never been through the process of administering an estate before, it is essential to work with an experienced Florida formal administration attorney who can help you understand and comply with the law. Contact the Kuhn Law Firm, P.A., at 239-333-4529 today to schedule a free consultation with a member of our trust and estates team.