Few are people who think about their mortality and the chain of events after their deaths. Fewer are even those who plan ahead for the distribution of their wealth in case they die. The probate sale process can't be avoided. Whether you've thought about the fate of your estate or not. So, it's better to know as much about the process as you can.

This article explains the process of probate sale in detail without dwelling too much on legal jargon. Read on to get all the answers to your probate-specific questions.

The need for probate sales

You may have an extended family and think it prudent to divide your assets. Especially if you sense the possibility of a long-drawn legal battle with multiple competing interests and wish to avoid it.

Perhaps you're an heir or beneficiary of an estate who's sucked into the world of estate clearance through the probate route. Or maybe someone who just got to know about a cheap probate property via Listsource.

Irrespective of your stake in the estate, you'll need to go through the court-mandated sale. It ensures the legal resolution of property and puts any dispute to rest.

Defining Probate

Probate is a court-led administration of a decedent's estate. A decedent is someone who dies, leaving behind an estate. The latter has to be transferred to their heirs or beneficiaries with the presence of an existing will.

The purpose of probate is to ensure its smooth transition from the deceased into the hands of the living. When the will does not exist for the person's sudden and unfortunate demise, then the property comes under the probate court and it becomes a probate property.

Things under the ambit of estate

There's often confusion as to what constitutes an estate. There's a wide perception that it relates to property. However, an estate includes much more than that. Here's what comes under the ambit of an estate:

  • Real estate
  • Bank savings account
  • Car/motorbike
  • Jewelry

Probate and will - how it works

What happens if a decedent passes away without leaving a will behind? Well, the estate is transferred to the next of kin. The latter are called intestate heirs.

The estate still goes through the probate process if a decedent leaves a will behind. It is to verify the heirs and the beneficiaries and that the terms of the will are executed as instructed.

Let's dwell more on ‘heirs' and ‘beneficiaries' before we move on.  The former is the next of kin of the decedent - usually wife, sons, and daughters. The latter is a person nominated by the decedent to a legal share of the estate. It could be a distant relative, a friend, or a trust for that matter.

Types of Probate Administration in Florida

Here are the types of probate administration in Florida:

1. Summary administration:

This is a simple and fast process. Summary administration is used for an estate that has less than $75,000 in non-exempt assets. Personal vehicles fall under exempt assets. Summary administration also covers decedents who passed away more than two years ago before the probate proceedings began. The detailed rules for summary administration are found under Chapter 35 of the Florida Statutes.

2. Formal administration:

This is an elaborate process and needs a personal representative or an executor to oversee the process. This applies to estates that are valued above $75,000 and when the decedent dies two years before the probate proceedings. A 90-day prior “notice to creditors” is issued in case of formal administration to settle eligible debts. The personal representative is appointed by the court.

If you're using Listsource to search probate properties, duly check the kind of administration in the process. You might have to wait a long time in case of the latter.

Important Florida Statutes dealing with probate

Chapters 731-735 are the most important Florida statutes that deal with probate administration. Here's a brief overview of each statute:

1. Chapter 731:

This chapter deals with the general provisions of the probate process. These list the various definitions, evidence, and court proceedings.

2. Chapter 732:

This chapter deals with intestate succession and wills. There are details about spouse and children and their legitimate share in the estate.

3. Chapter 733:

This chapter deals with the administration of estates. It lists out the duties of the personal representative and the provisions for estate distribution.

4. Chapter 734:

This chapter deals with foreign personal representatives and the process of ancillary administration. The latter is relevant to people who live in a state outside Florida.

5. Chapter 735:

This chapter deals with small estates that go through the summary administration process.

Property and assets that go through probate in Florida

All assets owned by the decedent are subject to probate laws in Florida. There is an exception to this rule though. A property with a named beneficiary or rights of survivorship is exempt from being included in the estate list. A right of survivorship property is the one that the surviving co-owner gets as per the property deed.

Key Takeaway

The laws on probate sale are clear and detailed in Florida. The Florida Statutes lays out the process comprehensively. The probate process is necessary to transfer the estate to the right heir and/or beneficiary. It's the lawful way to resolve property disputes and the key to estate administration.