Probate is the court supervised process of transfering a deceased individual's property from the decedent's name to the name(s) of that person's heirs.
When an individual passes away and they own property in their name only, probate is usually required. Examples of types of property that would not require probate would include:
For small estates (those valued at less than $75,000, not including homestead real property) or when the decedent has been dead for more than 2 years, an abbreviated proceeding called "summary administration" is available. For those estates valued above this amount, a "formal administration" probate proceeding would be required. The formal probate has additional requirements and is a longer process.
When a Florida resident dies with a will, their will usually controls who receives the property. Some exceptions apply, such as when that person has a spouse that survives them. When someone dies without a valid will (called "intestate"), the Florida statutes determine who will receive the property.
The location of probate proceedings are determined by the residence of the decedent. When a non-resident passes away and they own property in Florida, a special process called "ancillary administration" is available to allow for the transfer of the property according to that person's will as administered by the court located in the jurisdiction where they resided. For example, John owned a winter condo in Ft. Meyers, but lived 7 months a year in Toledo, Ohio. His estate will be probated in Ohio, but an ancillary proceeding will be needed in Lee County, Florida to handle the Florida condo.
While many lawyers charge a percentage of the assets of the estate, our firm does not feel that is fair. An estate with $100,000 in assets does not take more work than a $400,000 estate. As such, in most circumstances we charge a flat fee based on the type of probate proceeding needed. Those fees are:
In certain estates, fees may be higher based on factors such as:
Please call today for a free consultation and fee quotation for your particular situation!