When people in Florida pass away, their estates have to be collected and distributed. This process is known as probate administration. It essentially involves gathering an estate's assets and distributing the estate assets appropriately.
The first step in probate proceedings involves appointing responsible parties to manage the estates that need to be distributed. These individuals are known as personal representatives or executors. Deceased individuals may have nominated individuals or companies, such as banks, to be their estates' personal representatives in their wills. However, if no wills are in place when people die, courts will typically appoint surviving spouses or other family members to assume this role.
Personal representatives are responsible for documenting, or inventorying, all of the assets of the deceased individuals' estates. Then, any creditors must be paid from the assets. If not enough probate assets exist to pay the decedents' creditors, the personal representatives might need to seek court approval to choose which creditors will be paid. Finally, any leftover assets can be divided based on what is stipulated in the deceased parties' wills. However, if wills end up being contested, personal representatives must be ready to defend these wills in probate proceedings.
Probate administration in Florida can understandably be complex and overwhelming due to the amount of responsibility involved. After all, the outcome of the process affects the legacy of the deceased individual in addition to impacting any family members mentioned in this party's will. However, an attorney can provide the guidance needed to execute it confidently and correctly in the Sunshine State.
Source: findlaw.com, "How to Administer an Estate", Accessed on May 23, 2018