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After a death, an estate typically needs to be transferred to the beneficiaries through a process called probate. The administration of probate involves managing those assets and ensuring that they are distributed fairly and according to either an established will or Florida state laws.

For those who are unfamiliar with this process, it can become complex and time-consuming. That's why it's essential to work with an attorney who is both well-versed in probate law and committed to the rights and interests of their clients.

If you have unresolved questions concerning your estate and the probate laws that may apply to it, or are ready to start working directly with a probate attorney today, Miami Family Law Group is available to discuss your case.

To speak with an experienced Key Biscayne probate administration attorney
today, call 305-916-4053.

The Probate Process in Key Biscayne, FL

Key Biscayne´s probate procedure is similar to other parts of Florida and tends to include many steps that can lengthen the process.

The process is initiated when a petition for probate is filed with the circuit court of the county where the individual passed away. Following the filing of a petition, the court will move to appoint a personal representative for the probate case, who then becomes responsible for managing the estate. The personal representative may be named in a will, or chosen by the court, but must be legally qualified to serve.

The personal representative is tasked with gathering and administering the assets of the estate, paying off any outstanding bills or applicable taxes, and distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries according to the will. In the case an individual did not have a will, the assets will be dispersed in accordance with Florida's intestacy laws. It also required that the personal representative keep the beneficiaries and other involved parties up to date throughout the process.

Types of Probate Administration

In Key Biscayne and the greater Florida area, there are two common ways of handling probate: formal administration and summary administration.

Formal Administration

If the value of an estate exceeds $75,000, the estate must go through a formal administration. The process follows these steps:

  • Petition for Formal Administration - To initiate the probate, a petition for formal administration must be made with the circuit court where the deceased person resided. This petition must contain the individual's name, date of death, and address at the time of death, along with a list of both assets and debts.
  • Appoint a Personal Representative - After the petition is submitted, the court will name a personal representative to manage the estate. Normally, the personal representative is specified in the individual's will, but if no will is present, the court will choose someone that is legally qualified and able to act as representative.
  • Notice - The personal representative is required to give notice to all interested parties, including creditors, that a probate process is now underway. This can be done via mail or through a local publication.
  • Inventory and Appraisal - The representative is required to submit an inventory and appraisal to the court following their appointment. This extends to all assets, their projected values, and the current debts of the estate.
  • Debt and Tax Payment - The estate's outstanding debts, as well as taxes, must be paid off before any assets can be transferred, along with the final income tax return of the deceased individual.
  • Asset distribution - Once the finances are in order, the personal representative can transfer the estate's assets to the people named in the will, or in the absence of a will, according to Florida intestacy laws.
  • Final Accounting - A completed account of the estate's assets, debts, expenses, and any disbursement to the beneficiaries must be submitted to the court.
  • Estate Closure - After all the above steps have been completed and accepted by the court, a petition for discharge is required to close the estate.

Although these are the fundamental steps, the course of a probate case is subject to change depending on the estate size, specifics of the case, and parties involved. Discuss your case with a qualified probate administration attorney to determine the process for your estate.

Summary Administration

If the estate is valued at $75,000 or less, or the deceased individual has been dead for longer than two years, summary administration, which tends to be quicker and easier than formal administration, can be implemented.

Here are the general steps for summary administration:

  • Petition for Summary Administration - Like a formal administration, a petition must be filed before moving forward. The assets of the deceased person, along with an estimate of their value, must be listed in the petition.
  • Notice - Again, like formal administration, summary administration requires notice to be given to the interested parties, such as creditors, either via mail or in a local publication.
  • Consent - Any heirs or beneficiaries of the estate must give their consent to the personal representative indicating that they don't have any objection to the summary administration procedure. If any party objects, a formal administration will be required.
  • Asset Distribution & Estate Closure - Once the above steps have been completed, assets can be distributed by the personal representative. Following the distribution, the representative must file a closing statement with the court that attests to the payment of all estate debts and taxes, as well as the accurate distribution of assets.

Summary administration can be completed in just months compared to the long haul of formal administration. However, most estates don't qualify for this streamlined service and will need to go through formal administration.

Ancillary Administration

When a person who is a primary resident of another state dies and leaves behind assets in Florida, usually real estate, a third type of probate may be used. Due to the fact that Florida is a popular vacation destination for families from around the globe, this can be a realistic approach to probate.

Ancillary administration enables the Florida probate court to give beneficiaries in other states ownership of in-state property held at the time of the person's death.

Disposition Without Administration

As there is no actual estate administration taking place, a disposition without administration is not actually a probate procedure, but can be a method of transferring assets. Due to the need to meet certain conditions, this procedure is rarely used.

In a disposition without administration, the assets from an estate are used to pay back the individual who paid for the burial or final medical expenses of the deceased. This approach will only be helpful to heirs or beneficiaries if:

  • The deceased left no real estate or other real property behind.
  • Compared to the value of the assets, the entire amount of expenses is less expensive.
  • The personal property is exempt from creditors' claims.

Duties of Key Biscayne Probate Administration Attorneys

What your lawyer can do for you varies from case to case, but when it comes to probate law, there are some common areas where a Key Biscayne probate administration lawyer can be a huge aid.

Guidance for a Personal Representative - Being named a personal representative in a probate case can be a greater responsibility than most people realize. From the time that the first petition is filed up until all assets are distributed and the estate is closed, a personal representative will have responsibilities on their plate. A Key Biscayne probate administration attorney can help a personal representative throughout this process, guiding and advising them along the way. A lawyer can ensure that all tasks of a representative are completed properly, and common mistakes are avoided.

Gathering and Valuing Assets - A lawyer can assist in both locating and valuing all assets involved in an estate, extending to real estate, bank accounts, investments, and personal property. With the help of an attorney, you can ensure all assets are properly accounted for.

Handling Creditor Claims - In the case creditor claims are made against the estate, it's essential to get an experienced Key Biscayne probate administration attorney on your side. A lawyer can review the creditor's claims to check their validity as well as negotiate settlements on debts and taxes.

Facing the Court - When it comes to any hearings or court filings, an attorney is not only greatly experienced in this, but can manage it on your behalf. This can extend to any court appearances or any court paperwork that must be submitted.

Resolving Disputes - If disputes arise amongst the beneficiaries or heirs in an estate administration, a lawyer can mediate, negotiate, or iron out the discrepancies while making sure that every party is taken into consideration. The last thing you want following a loved one's death is to end up in a messy probate litigation or in probate court.

All in all, the duties of a probate administration lawyer in Key Biscayne, Florida, is to offer strong advice, and comprehensive support, all while ensuring everything is completed correctly and in a timely manner.

Why Should You Work With a Probate Attorney?

There are many reasons to consider hiring an experienced Key Biscayne probate administration attorney. The most prevalent being:

Preventing Mistakes and Delays - Without legal aid, it's easy to make mistakes that can cost you time, money, and even legal repercussions. Working with an attorney can make sure you avoid common errors and guarantee that the probate is carried out as smoothly as possible.

Efficient Asset Distribution -By ensuring that the deceased person's assets are divided in line with their wishes, as well as Florida law, a Key Biscayne probate administration attorney can reduce the likelihood of conflict or legal issues.

Legally Representation - Whether it's defending the validity of a will, challenging creditors' claims, or representing the estate in court, a lawyer can help you litigate.

Emotional Support - Apart from relieving a client's stress in a probate case, an attorney can ease some of the weight of losing a loved one by handling the logistics and tricky legal aspects that are unfortunately also a part of death.

How Long Is the Probate Process?

Formal Probate Timeline

Most of the time, the formal probate administration takes 6 to 9 months to wrap up. The appointment of a personal representative, the running of a 90-day creditors' period, the payment of debts and taxes, and other steps add time to this process. However, the personal representative is allowed to manage and sell the estate's assets after being appointed by the probate court. So although the process can extend for months, the estate can still be successfully sold and managed.

Summary Probate Timeline

Under the correct circumstances, summary probate administration, which is only used for small estates free of debt, can be completed in less than a month. The main requirement is the approval of the petition for administration from all of the beneficiaries.

Once you have everyone's approval and the petition has been filed with the court, it usually takes 2-3 weeks (depending on the county) to receive the order of summary administration. The assets may then be accessible to the heirs after the completion of the proceeding.

How Can I Avoid Probate?

If, after reviewing your choices, probate seems like the wrong option for you, there are other methods of distributing an estate in Florida. Here are a few ways:

  • A Living Trust - A living trust is a legal arrangement that enables you to give ownership of your property to a trust while you are still alive. The assets of the trust are divided after your passing without going through the probate process.
  • Beneficiary Designations - A lot of assets, including bank accounts, retirement plans, and life insurance policies, let you choose a beneficiary who will get the money when you pass away. These assets will be transferred to the beneficiary without going through probate.
  • Payable-on-Death Accounts - Like beneficiary designations, payable-on-death accounts let you choose a beneficiary who will get the account's money after your passing.
  • Transfer-on-Death Deeds - There are deeds that can transfer ownership to a beneficiary following a person's death, known as "transfer-on-death" deeds.

Consult With a Probate Administration Attorney in Key Biscayne Today

Working with top-notch Key Biscayne probate administration lawyers can give you and your family access to valuable legal tools, specialized assistance, and the peace of mind that the estate will be in good hands.

Miami Family Law Group's legal services are available to you, whether you have questions about how Florida's probate process works, are faced with complicated probate matters, or need immediate legal assistance. Our attorneys have a wide range of legal experience in the State of Florida, spanning from family law, estate law, and probate law. Your estate should be in the hands of a Key Biscayne probate administration attorney devoted to protecting the rights and interests of you and your family.

You don't have to face probate alone. You can navigate the process with the assistance of Miami Family Law Group.

To start working with a skilled Key Biscayne probate administration attorney today, call 305-916-4053.

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Legal concerns with family can cause intense stress and have far-reaching effects. This can be especially true when children are involved. You also have a lot of financial interests in a family law case, so you must partner with the right attorney. The team at Miami Family Law Group, PLLC is the right choice for these reasons:

  • We understand family. Miami Family Law Group, PLLC offers our clients a family-friendly environment. We understand how delicate legal issues are with spouses, partners, and children.
  • We speak Spanish. Language barriers shouldn’t be a problem when you work with our firm. We speak Spanish and can understand your personal concerns.
  • We have the experience and skills. Family law is not something anyone should take lightly. Our attorneys have been practicing law for more than 20 years. We understand the critical aspects of family law and the essential steps with each case.

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Ask a Question,
Describe Your Situation,
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Call (305) 701-2901 or fill out the short form below. We will usually respond within 1 business day but often do so the same day. Don’t hesitate, your questions are welcome.

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Your Information Is Safe With Us

We respect your privacy. The information you provide will be used to answer your question or to schedule an appointment if requested.

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