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Some basics about probate court in Florida

Most Florida residents probably have a grasp on some of the more common aspects of estate planning. They know that a will is a document that will designate the distribution of assets to family members and friends upon the drafter’s death. They also probably know that, if they die without a will, the procedures set out by state law will step in to designate the distribution of the estate. But, it can be important to dig a little deeper into some of the basics of estate planning and probate court in Florida.

For starters, what is “probate?” It is a term that many Florida residents have probably heard before, but maybe they don’t really even know what it means. “Probate” refers to the process by which the court supervises how a deceased person’s assets are marshaled and inventoried, debts are paid, and then, when all else is complete, the assets are distributed to heirs and beneficiaries.

Who will be a part of the probate process in Florida? Well, the most common participants are the judge in the probate court, an executor or personal representative of the deceased person’s estate, perhaps an attorney, and then there might be other parties who file claims against the estate – possibly resulting in probate litigation.

Lastly, how long does the probate process take in Florida? Unfortunately, this is not a simple question. The timeframe for the completion of the probate process is very fact-sensitive, resulting in a different timeline in every case. Some estates are more complicated and, therefore, take longer, while others are fairly simple and wrap up in relatively short order.

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