After a death, Fort Myers probate must occur in order to facilitate the distribution of the assets of the deceased. The property owned by the person who passed away does not just transfer to new owners. There must be formal steps taken to do things like determine who inherits, make sure a will is valid, provide an opportunity for creditor claims, and otherwise take care of the legal requirements of winding up the deceased person’s affairs.
There are actually different types of Fort Myers probate, and you need to make sure that the right probate process is used for your particular circumstances. Having proper legal advice from a Fort Myers probate lawyer is essential to following Florida laws on probate and moving correctly through the probate process.
Barbara M. Pizzolato, P.A. can provide the assistance that you need. If someone you love has passed away, give us a call now. We can explain the three types of probate in Florida and help you to ensure you are going through the formal legal requirements correctly after a death has occurred.
Understanding Three Types of Fort Myers Probate
Florida probate is controlled by the Probate Code, which is found in Chapters 731 through 735 of the Florida statutes on Estates and Trusts. Probate takes place in the county where the deceased person lived, so for those in Fort Myers, probate will take place in the Lee County probate court. The right type of probate must be chosen, so the appropriate court paperwork can be filed and the proper process can take place.
There are two primary types of probate under Florida law, as well as an additional administration proceeding. The different types of probate include:
- Formal administration: Formal administration is required when the deceased person had probate assets exceeding $75,000. A personal representative must be appointed, an inventory of the estate must be created, creditors must be notified of the death, and a determination of homestead has to be made, if applicable. The assets are distributed to creditors and beneficiaries under the direction of the court, and the estate is closed when the process is complete.
- Summary administration: Summary administration is permitted when the value of the probate estate is $75,000 or less or in situations where the deceased person has been dead for more than two years. The process is simpler and easier than formal administration as well as takes less time. A personal representative is not appointed, notice to creditors is provided, determination of homestead is made, in applicable situations, and distribution of assets to both creditors and beneficiaries as instructed by the court.
- Disposition of personal property without administration: Florida Section 734.301(1) allows for disposition of personal property without administration if personal property is exempt from creditor claims and the deceased left a very small estate behind. This process is the simplest of all, because it involves only petitioning for disposition without administration and then completing a few simple requirements like providing copies of the death certificate, funeral bills, statements showing assets, and the original will.
Barbara M. Pizzolato, P.A. assists with all three types of Fort Myers probate. We can provide guidance to all those involved in winding up the affairs of the decedent.
Getting Help During the Probate Process
Executors or personal representatives of the deceased should strongly consider getting legal help with Fort Myers probate, as they have the responsibility of filing paperwork with the court and fulfilling all other probate requirements. Heirs who stand to inherit may also wish to seek legal advice to make sure someone is protecting their interests. Finally, anyone whom may wish to contest the will due to a belief that the will is not valid should also be represented by a Fort Myers probate lawyer. No matter what type of probate is taking place or what your role in the probate process, our legal team can help.
Contact a Fort Myers Probate Lawyer
Barbara M Pizzolato, P.A. provides comprehensive assistance with probate in Fort Myers and surrounding areas in Florida. To learn more about how we help during the probate process, join us for a free seminar. You can also give us a call at (239)-225-7911 or contact us online to learn more about how our legal team can assist with probate after a death has occurred.