When a friend or loved one passes away, you may feel overwhelmed with emotion at the loss. During this hard time, it can be difficult to make important decisions regarding the deceased's estate and property. If you are the estate administrator, you are responsible for overseeing the estate as it travels through the probate process. Probate is supervised by the court and ensures the property is taken care of and is distributed to the beneficiaries intended by the deceased.
As part of the Florida probate process, you must gather important documents, including the death certificate and life insurance policies, and submit them to the appropriate department. The estate is then appraised and given a value. Any expenses, bills or taxes owed by the deceased are then paid out of the estate's value. Finally, any property and assets that remain are divided out to the people who are named in the deceased's last will and testament. You, as the executor of the estate, must ensure that the property is protected from theft and vandalism during the process.
Not all estates are made to go through the probate process. If the deceased set up the property in a trust, it may be directly transferred over to the beneficiaries, without going through the lengthy probate procedure. In some cases, the deceased may have signed a transferrable on death certificate, which means the property is simply transferred to the designated party upon death.
This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.