Who needs probate?

When a person passes away owning assets individually or that do not pass automatically, his or her family members or beneficiaries will need to have his or her estate probated to transfer those assets to the beneficiaries.

Can I file a probate without an attorney?

Only an attorney can file a formal probate proceeding in Florida. A summary probate may be filed without an attorney; however, when real property is involved, it is important to have an attorney that understands real estate law to avoid the potential for title problems in the future.

Can I avoid probate in Florida?

The best way to avoid probate in Florida is to establish a trust and have all of your assets transferred into your trust. For more information on Trusts, please visit our Estate Planning page.

How long does probate usually take in Florida?

The length of a probate administration varies depending on the complexity of the estate and other factors. Once the probate begins, a minimum of three months is required to allow creditor claims to be filed on the estate. A simple estate handled as a formal administration could take six months to 12 months to complete while a more involved estate could take 12 months or more.

Can I sell my father/mother’s house after he/she dies?

You cannot sell a property to which you do not have legal title. If the property is listed in a person’s individual name, a probate is necessary to transfer ownership of the property to a living person or to appoint a Personal Representative with authority to sell the property.

Can I sell or transfer property if I am named as personal representative in a will?

No. While an individual’s will may designate who they would like appointed as personal representative, no person has the authority to act on behalf of an estate without first being appointed as personal representative by the court.

What if the decedent does not have a will?

If the decedent passes away without a will, also referred to as intestate, the assets of the estate will pass according to intestate succession. This succession can be found in the Florida Statutes, but consulting an attorney in this situation is the best course of action.

What if there is not enough money to pay all the debts?

Each situation is different; however, if the decedent had debts, those debts must be paid or otherwise disposed of prior to closing of the probate. There are exceptions and an attorney is the best one to explain those situations and the available solutions.

What if there was a probate in another state, but the decedent owned property in Florida?

If a decedent dies a resident of another state, but owns property in Florida, a probate will be completed in the other state and an ancillary probate would be conducted in Florida regarding only the assets located in Florida.

What is disposition of personal property without administration mean?

If a decedent’s total assets are valued under $10,000 a non-court supervised administration can be used to settle the estate and transfer the assets to the appropriate heirs.

What happens in a Formal Probate Proceeding?

The general steps in probate are to identify all assets and potential debts of the decedent, provide notice to all potential creditors and beneficiaries, confirm all assets and claims so debts can be paid and distributions may be made to the beneficiaries.


To learn how The Hogan Law Firm can assist you with probate, or to learn more, contact us at one of our Spring Hill or Brooksville offices today.