Understanding The Probate Process

When confronted with the loss of a loved one, many people are confused by the processes and various responsibilities associated with probate. At Cloninger & Files, Attorneys at Law, we look to help people in Oviedo make sense of the probate process by providing clear, understandable and personalized support from start to finish.

We Help Families Move Through The Probate Process Quickly And Efficiently

Our attorneys and professional staff have been assisting families in Seminole County and across Florida understand probate for more than 35 years. In that time, we have helped our clients save considerable time, money and alleviate stress by clearly outlining the responsibilities and options of personal representatives and concerned heirs and beneficiaries.

Like any other legal matter, the probate process can vary depending on numerous factors, including the size and complexity of the estate, the number of creditor's, and whether disputes arise.

To help you better understand your options, we have listed some common steps you may encounter during probate. By reaching out to our firm, we can provide advice and representation tailored to your specific needs:

  1. After the testator's death, the will must be delivered to the clerk of the appropriate court.
  2. An interested party (often a relative or someone close to the deceased) can file a petition for administration of a testate (the deceased passed with a valid will) or intestate (the deceased passed without a valid will) estate.
  3. A court order will assign personal representative and a judge will grant authority to act for the deceased.
  4. If the will is missing, a petition may be filed to grant access to the decedent's safety deposit box.
  5. The validity of the will must be established. In instances where the will's validity cannot be proved, it may be admitted to probate.
  6. The personal representative will manage the decedent's assets prior to and during distribution. The personal representative will be responsible for collecting and inventorying assets as well as distribution under the will.
  7. The personal representative may file an interim accounting prior to the final accounting.
  8. Once administration is complete, the personal representative will make an accounting of all actions taken (receipts of transactions, compensation paid, disbursements, etc.). A hearing will be held to approve the accounting unless there are objections from interested parties.
  9. Once all the assets have been distributed and all creditor claims have been resolved, the court can then relieve the personal representative of his or her duties.
  10. The estate can be reopened if additional assets and property are discovered or if fraud or other factors compromised the initial distribution.

It's important to note that the above list is an overview — not a comprehensive overview of the Florida probate process. To gather more information from our team of lawyers, contact us and schedule a consultation.

To reach our Oviedo law office, call 407-278-5624 or toll free at 877-359-7049. If you prefer to send an email, our office will promptly respond to your inquiry.