Probate refers to the court process to transfer assets of a decedent (their estate) and settle the decedent’s debts. Transfer of assets would be persons named in the decedent’s Will. However, if the decedent died without a Will, the assets would be transferred based on state law. As far as settling debts, the Probate process also determines which of the decedent’s creditors should be paid. Additionally, the Probate process finalizes tax payments and filings with the Internal Revenue Service.

With proper Estate Planning, Probate can be avoided. By way of example, assets titled to a Trust or with a named, living beneficiary can avoid probate. Specific titling on real estate deeds as well.

In Florida, the Probate Code outlines three types of probates which are determined by the total value of the assets of the estate. These are Small Estate Administration, Summary Administration, and Formal Administration. According to the Florida Probate Code, Summary Administration and Formal Administration requires an attorney.

A man in suit writing on paper at table.