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What does a Florida court consider probate assets?

The process of carrying on with one’s life after the loss of a beloved family member can be traumatic for many Lee County, Florida, residents. Once the funeral and burial services are finished, this is usually followed by the process of gathering the deceased’s possessions and determining what to do with them. Items of clothing can be donated to charitable organizations. Family members may ask for a particular small object to remember the deceased. But, what happens to the main assets of the recently departed? Real estate, bank accounts and insurance policies cannot simply be liquidated or sold. For this process to move forward, a deceased person’s list of assets and debts has to go through probate court.

In the state of Florida, there are two kinds of probate administration: summary and formal administration. Probate administration applies only to probate assets. Its function is to collect and identify the personal assets and debts of someone who has recently died. Once this initial task has been completed, the court will then arrange to pay off any of the deceased’s debts, using the deceased’s assets, and then distribute the remainder of these assets to the beneficiaries and heirs that are identified in the will. If the recently deceased did not have a will, probate is just as important because it finalizes and completes that person’s financial matters.

There are different types of assets that a probate court will consider as probate assts. These include any real estate or property that was only owned by the deceased or owned by the deceased and another person in an agreement known as tenants in common. Bank accounts, IRAs and any type of annuity account are also considered probate assets. This also applies to any other kinds of investment accounts that were only in the name of the deceased.Nonetheless, different kinds of probate issues can develop over the course of the process. Lee County residents who have questions about the probate process can find additional information from the State of Florida here. They may also choose to seek guidance from a legal expert who is experienced in handling probate cases.

Source: FLCourts.org, “Probate,” accessed on March 12, 2015

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