What Executors Need to Know About the Probate Process
The probate process is the court-supervised means of gathering a deceased individual’s assets and distributing to the person’s creditors and inheritors. As an estate executor in Florida, the probate process depends on the Uniform Probate Code (UPC). The UPC is a set of probate laws written by a group of national experts. The collection of laws were initially intended for adoption in all 50 states. The state of Florida is one of the sixteen states that adopted the law. The UPC’s goal is to make the probate process simpler, particularly for smaller estates. It is also designed to offer executors of the estate more flexibility during the process. :
Types of Probate: Informal, Unsupervised Formal, and Supervised Formal
Informal Probate: Most probates in Florida are informal. This type is used when inheritors are getting along, and you don’t expect any problems with creditors of the estate. If there is anyone who wishes to contest the proceeding, the estate cannot go through the relatively simple informal probate process. In the informal probate process, there are no court hearings, just paperwork.
Unsupervised Formal Probate: In UPC states like Florida unsupervised formal probate is a traditional court proceeding and is similar to the regular probate procedure mentioned above. Unsupervised probate proceedings are generally used when a case offers a good reason for court-involvement. For example, if there is a disagreement about asset distribution, if heirs need to be identified (there is no will), or if minors will be inheriting property from the estate. Executors of the estate may need to obtain the court’s permission before selling any real estate from the estate, distributing any property to beneficiaries of the estate, or paying an attorney for work completed for the estate. To close the estate, executors need to file an accounting showing how they managed the estate’s assets.
Supervised Formal Probate: The rarest type of probate, supervised formal probate is used only when the court deems it necessary to supervise probate. For example, when a beneficiary cannot adequately seek after their own interests, etc. Executors dealing with supervised formal probate must obtain the court’s approval before distributing any property of the estate.