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What is probate?

Some residents of Florida may be concerned about what will become of their assets after their death. Although this can be a difficult question for some families to consider, doing so responsibly can help to mitigate the chance of further complications for one's beneficiaries in the future. Probate is one such potential complication, and it can be an expensive process for one's intended beneficiaries to undergo. However, many people are unaware of how probate can come into effect and what assets may be subject to it.

Probate is often necessary to resolve someone's financial affairs after they've passed on. For instance, if the recently deceased had any creditors, these may be able to receive their compensation through probate. In addition, probate may also be necessary in situations where the recently deceased left no will in order to determine the distribution of his or her assets.

In general, only assets subject to probate administration may be considered for probate. There are many types of assets that can enter probate under certain circumstances, such as property, real estate, bank accounts and more. In essence, if the asset had no established provision for the transition of its ownership in the event of the original owner's death, it may be held subject to probate administration.

If someone finds himself or herself struggling with issues related to probate, they may wish to consult their circumstances with an attorney. In addition to offering legal advice regarding the matter, an attorney may work to facilitate someone's case in probate in order to help ensure that assets are distributed the way they were intended to be. Though probate can be a stressful procedure for the parties involved, it may be possible nevertheless to secure a beneficial outcome that closely approximates the wishes of the recently deceased.

Source: The Florida Bar, "Probate in Florida Pamphlet", January 04, 2015

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