What Is A Petition For Discharge In Probate?
Filing a Petition for Discharge is one of the last obligations of an estate’s personal representative in Florida probate. The petition is also one of the last documents beneficiaries of an estate will receive before the estate is closed.
A Petition for Discharge informs the probate court and the beneficiaries of the assets subject to probate and specifies the manner in which the assets will be distributed to the beneficiaries. The petition also includes the amount of money being paid to the personal representative and the attorney that handled the probate process.
If you are a personal representative and are about to file a Petition for Discharge, contact an attorney to help you with the petition. If you are a beneficiary, consult with a St. Petersburg probate litigation attorney to determine whether you should consent or object to the Petition for Discharge.
What Should a Petition for Discharge Contain?
According to Florida Probate Rule 5.400, a Petition for Discharge must include the following information:
- A statement showing that the personal representative has successfully administered the estate;
- A statement demonstrating that all claims presented to the personal representative have been settled;
- A statement saying that the personal representative has paid the necessary taxes and expenses associated with the administration;
- The amount of money paid to the attorney, personal representative, appraisers, and other individuals involved in the probate process;
- A plan of distribution; and
- A statement saying that any objections to the Petition for Discharge should be filed within 30 days from the date of service of the petition.
What is a Plan of Distribution and What Should It Include?
A plan of distribution is a critical element of the Petition for Discharge. The plan should include the following information:
- A list of all distributions made to the date;
- The list of assets awaiting the distribution of assets; and
- Information about the amount of money paid to the personal representative and paid to cover other expenses associated with the distribution of the assets or the termination of the estate administration.
Florida law established a procedure for filing and serving the Petition for Discharge, a plan of distribution, and other documents. If you were appointed to serve as a personal representative, it is advisable to seek the legal help of an experienced probate litigation attorney to help you prepare and file a Petition for Discharge properly.
Can Beneficiaries Object to a Petition for Discharge?
The short answer is “Yes.” Beneficiaries and other interested parties can object to a Petition for Discharge as long as they file the objection within 30 days of the date of service. Beneficiaries have a right to file an objection to the proposed distribution of assets or the compensation to be paid to the personal representative, attorneys, and other parties.
After filing the objection, the beneficiary has 90 days to serve a notice of hearing. If the notice is not served within the 90-day time frame, the objection is considered “abandoned” and will not be considered by the probate court.
Consult with an attorney if you are considering objecting to a Petition for Discharge. Schedule a free consultation with our attorneys at Legacy Protection Lawyers, LLP, to discuss your case. Call 727-471-5868 today.