Probate does not have to be a bad word. Many people come to see me with the notion that they are going to suffer through probate. And sometimes family members feel burdened by the deceased relative because they have to take the estate through probate.
Here we take the time to explain how probate works and why probate is not the terrible experience he or she has been led to believe. In fact we offer clients the choice between summary probate and formal probate. Many do qualify for the shorter, easier, and less expensive process known as summary probate. However many attorneys do not offer Summary Probate services and instead offer only Formal Probate.
Summary probate is the court process available to process estates valued at less than $75, 000.00. This is excluding the value of the decedent’s primary home in Florida (commonly referred to as the homestead). If there are bank accounts, investments, vehicles, or other assets and they are valued under $75,000 total summary probate is the perfect choice. Something to consider is the amount of debt owed by the decedent as the debt will have to be paid off prior to summary probate being approved by the Judge. Summary probate can be done without a lawyer however those that try it may find their Petition to the court rejected and sometimes rejected more than once. A probate attorney like Bonnie Klein Rhoden, Esquire, can help guide you through the process of summary probate. You will find it can be completed in three to four months. We offer this service as an option to those clients who have qualifying estates.
The name tells you the process is going to be more involved – formal probate. This type of estate process requires an attorney per the Florida statutes.
Formal probate requires advertising to creditors, several notices to beneficiaries, accounting reports, and other formal activities. With formal probate the Personal Representative will have no remaining liability after the judge signs off to close the probate matter.
You can expect a typical estate with a homestead property to take 12 to 18 months in formal probate. This depends on the specifics of your family member’s assets, the tax filings required of the estate, and the amount and type of debt owed by the deceased.
Services provided by the attorney handling your formal probate may include assistance in setting up an estate bank account, in accumulating assets, in reporting to the beneficiaries, in helping sell a home or other property, and in referrals to appraisers or other professionals that can hold an estate sale and other services, and others.
Call today to make an appointment for a no charge consultation with one of our experienced probate attorneys. We serve all of Brevard including Titusville, Palm Bay, Melbourne, West Melbourne, Indian Harbour Beach, Viera, Rockledge, Suntree, Cocoa, and all areas of the county.