The state of Florida requires that property that is titled in the sole name of the decedent, and sometimes otherwise, to pass through a probate proceeding to effectuate a legal change in title. Probate is a judicial process whereby assets and debts are taken, and what would be in short, reconciled with either the instructions contained in a Will or by intestacy laws in instances where there is no Will. Upon reconciliation, certain debts are paid and certain assets are distributed to certain people.
Our Jacksonville attorneys are experienced in estate planning and can assist you in probate matters and processes for distribution of property and debt.
The process is very much akin to the bankruptcy process, where a person who files for bankruptcy has certain assets, wishes to pay (or not pay) certain creditors, and then at some point certain property is either distributed or sold to creditors, and the person leaves with certain allowable or exempt property. The difference between the bankruptcy and probate processes, is the difference of intent and volition (you can’t avoid a probate!). In probate proceedings, the idea is to pass property and the pay debts in accordance with the wishes of the Decedent, or if absent, by the intestacy laws. In bankruptcy proceedings, the idea is not to pass property, but rather to escape from your debts and start afresh. Keeping property is a byproduct, which is deemed a bare minimum necessity for you to start afresh.
There are many other issues at stake in a probate proceeding. The probate proceeding may be contested in several main areas: Will contests, appointments of personal representatives, and distribution. If you need further information, please give us a call at the firm of Grigaltchik & Galustov, P.A., at (904) 701-7180.