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Probate 101

While many Miami, Florida, residents understand that it’s very important to plan ahead and make major estate planning decisions before their passing, fewer may have a clear understanding of the various components that go into the process. For instance, many people do not know what probate is or how it works, even though they are familiar with the term. Provided below are a few key points to help define probate and explain how it works.

During the estate administration process, a judge may assign someone to act as the executor of an estate. That process of choosing a representative to distribute assets and carry out the wishes of a decedent is referred to as probate.

Probate is public

Given that probate is handled through the court system, any documents filed with the Florida legal system become public records. In fact, many estate administration cases can be found online. Private information regarding personal debts and/or assets may, therefore, be available to the public for scrutiny.

Probate is time

Like Many Legal Processes, probate takes time. Creditors that file claims against an estate have a designated amount of time to do so, and assets are not typically distributed until all necessary properties are sold and an attorney is acquired. Typically, the entire probate process can take between six and eight months.

Probate is money

In most cases, families are forced to hire a lawyer to administer an estate and conduct probate. As a result, many attorneys have a 3-percent fee on the value of an estate in Florida. Similarly, the executor of the estate can charge a fee, and other estate-related costs can arise and detract from the overall value of the estate itself.

Source:, “The problem with probate,” Robert Schwartz, Jan. 23, 2014 

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