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Legacy Protection Lawyers St. Petersburg Estate Planning, Probate & Trust Lawyer

FAQs About Probate In Florida


When a person passes away, all or a portion of their estate must go through the probate process. Probate is a court-supervised process and it is one that is not always easily understood. To clear up any confusion, our St. Petersburg probate and trust administration lawyer outlines some of the most frequently asked questions we hear, and the answers to them.

What is Probate? 

Probate is a process that identifies and gathers a deceased person’s assets, pays taxes, claims, and expenses, and distributes the property to the appropriate beneficiaries. There are different types of probate in Florida and so, it is always important to speak to a lawyer about the process you may be facing.

What are Probate Assets? 

Generally speaking, probate assets refer to property that is in a decedent’s name only at the time of their death and that does not have a provision for automatic transfer to another person at death. For example, a bank account in the name of a deceased person only is subject to probate if other provisions have not been made for it. On the other hand, a bank account that is held jointly with rights of survivorship is not a probate asset because it has a provision to be transferred to the surviving owner automatically upon the death of the first owner.

Who is Involved in the Probate Process? 

Although there may be others, the following is a list of people and entities that may be involved in the probate process:

  • Circuit Court judge
  • Clerk of the Circuit Court
  • Personal representative
  • Attorney for the personal representative
  • Internal Revenue Service
  • Florida Department of Revenue
  • Surviving spouse and children
  • Other beneficiaries
  • Trustee of a revocable trust

Who Supervises the Probate Process? 

A probate judge will preside over the probate process. The judge will appoint a personal representative and issue letters of administration, also known simply as ‘letters.’ This legal document notifies the family and general public that the personal representative has been given legal authority to take certain actions. The judge will also hold certain hearings when required and resolve any question that is raised while the estate is being administered. The judge will then issue certain orders that clear up these questions.

Who Can Act as a Personal Representative? 

A personal representative can be a person, bank, or trust company. Individuals who are a resident of Florida, or a spouse, parent, sibling, child, or other close relative can also act as personal representative of an estate. Trust companies incorporated under Florida law, or a savings and loan or bank that is qualified and authorized to exercise fiduciary duties in the state can also serve as a personal representative.

Our Probate and Trust Administration Lawyer in St. Petersburg Can Answer Your Questions 

If you have lost a loved one and are now facing probate, or you are creating your own estate plan, you likely have a lot of questions. At Legacy Protection Lawyers, LLP, our St. Petersburg probate and trust administration lawyers can answer them so you can make informed decisions. Call us today at 727-471-5868 or contact us online to request a consultation and to learn more.


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