Probate is a court supervised process for identifying and gathering the assets of the deceased person (decedent) paying the decedent’s debts and distributing the decedent’s assets to his or her beneficiaries. In general, the decedent’s assets are used first to pay the costs of the probate proceeding, then used to pay the decedent’s outstanding debts, and the remainder is distributed to the decedent’s beneficiaries.
Probate administration only applies to probate assets. Probate assets are those assets that the decedent owned in his or her sole name (individually) at the time of death, or that were owned by the decedent and one or more co-owners have lacked a provision for automatic succession of ownership at death.
Why is Probate Necessary?
Probate is necessary to pass ownership of the decedent’s probate assets to the decedent’s beneficiaries. If the decedent left a valid will, unless the will is admitted to probate in the court, it will be ineffective to pass ownership of probate assets to the decedent’s beneficiaries. If the decedent had no will, probate is necessary to pass ownership of the decedent’s probate assets to those persons who are to receive them under Florida law.
Probate is also necessary to wind up the decedent’s financial affairs after his or her death. Administration of the decedent’s estate ensures that the decedent’s creditors are paid if certain procedures are correctly followed.
If you have questions concerning probate or the transfer of decedent’s assets in general, you should seek legal advice.
Burney Bivens, P.A. and Associates
1543 Kingsley Avenue, #18-B
Orange Park, FL 32073
Office: (904) 264-3412
Fax: (904) 264-2456