When someone passes away after creating a will, their estate plan must be validated before the assets held inside will be distributed to the beneficiaries. However, this process does not simply happen once the death certificate is signed. The executor of the estate must file a petition for probate. Unfortunately, this is an overwhelming process, especially when you’re also grieving the loss of your loved one. Keep reading to learn more about this process and discover how a probate lawyer in Pasco County, FL can help you through this complex process.
What Does a Petition for Probate Do?
A petition for probate is the first step in the probate process. This is a document that the named executor of an estate will file to begin the administration of a deceased party’s estate.
This petition is a request for the court to validate the will and formally appoint an executor. Once approved, the court will authorize the executor to fulfill the duties expected of them, which include distributing the assets in an estate according to the deceased’s will and filing any taxes on properties until the probate process has finished.
If there is no named executor or the executor named in the will declines the responsibility, a Petition for Probate of Wills and Letters of Administration with Will Annexed can be filled instead, which allows the court to appoint an administrator. This agent has similar responsibilities to an executor, such as managing and overseeing the distribution of assets, but has not been named by the will’s creator.
How Do I File This Petition in Florida?
If you are named as an executor in a will, you’ll need to file a petition for probate to begin the process. Generally, you must file when there are no exceptions, and the estate will go through the formal probate process. If there is no named executor to file the petition, another appropriate party, like a spouse or adult children may start this process.
If you are the executor or have assumed the responsibility of filing the petition, the following are the steps you must adhere to:
- File the will through the court. Regardless of whether or not the estate will go through probate, an existing will must be filed.
- Confirm the executor of the will and that person will accept or reject the position. If they decline, another appropriate party may offer to assume the role.
- Finalize the filing and pay any filing fees. Once this step is completed, the courts will then decide whether or not to open probate.
It’s no secret that this process can be tricky if you’re unfamiliar with the law. When you’re named the executor of an estate, you’ll want to enlist the help of an experienced probate lawyer. At the Law Offices of Matthew J. Jowanna, our dedicated legal team will work to help you through this process.