A probate court handles matters related to the oversight of people and their assets. For instance, a Florida probate judge may have final say in a case regarding a guardianship or conservatorship. The judge may also make rulings regarding the validity of wills or trusts.
Probate courts ensure assets are distributed properly
Generally speaking, a judge will need to give his or her blessing before a deceased person’s assets can be distributed. This is typically done after an estate has taken care of creditor claims and resolved any legal challenges to a will or other plan documents. Assets are distributed per the instructions left in a person’s will or according to state law if an individual died without one. Intestacy laws may also be enforced if a will is invalidated during probate.
How to begin a probate proceeding
Typically, the estate representative will file a deceased person’s will in the county or city where he or she died. However, in some cases, the document is presented by a family member or whoever else happens to have it at the time of a person’s death. After this happens, the court will order that the person named in the deceased individual’s will be named the estate’s legal representative. If a person dies intestate, a judge may appoint a family member to the position. A legal professional may help the executor navigate the probate process.
A probate and estate administration attorney may help to ensure that the probate process is completed in a timely and adequate fashion. Legal counsel may help an executor inventory assets, contact potential beneficiaries and deal with creditor claims. Furthermore, a legal professional may represent an estate in court during a will challenge or any other type of challenge to a deceased person’s estate plan.