Probate is a court-supervised process to determine the validity of a decedent’s will and distribute his or her estate according to the document’s provisions. One of the most important elements in this process is the appointment of an executor.
Must all executors apply for probate in Florida? Read on to discover.
Understanding the Executor’s Role in Florida – An Introduction
Also referred to as the “personal representative,” the executor is an individual appointed in court to carry out the terms in a deceased’s will and conduct the distribution of the decedent’s estate within the boundaries defined in the document.
Summary administration is an expedited version of probate that does not require the appointment of a personal representative. In most cases, it takes only a few weeks to complete, and the heirs can receive their share after the court issues an order for distribution.
Conversely, formal administration involves several steps. The process commences when one of the interested parties files a petition for probate. Upon receipt of the petition, the court must appoint an executor to administer the estate subject to probate.
The executor must uphold a fiduciary duty to the decedent’s estate and its beneficiaries, acting only in the best interest of both parties. Failing to fulfill the fiduciary duty or following the legal principles in Florida law may result in the executor’s removal from the role.
Do All Executors Have to Apply for Probate in Florida? – Taking a Closer Look
Florida Statutes §732.901 (1) provides that “the custodian of a will must deposit the will with the clerk of the court having venue of the estate of the decedent within 10 days after receiving information that the testator is dead.”
State law does not specify whether the person named as the executor in the decedent’s will must deposit the document in court. Typically, the will is submitted with a petition for formal administration.
Formal administration is required if the value of the decedent’s estate subject to probate exceeds $75,000 or the decedent has been dead for less than two years. If the decedent died with outstanding debts, the estate will likely go through formal administration as well.
While there is no specific provision requiring the executor to file for probate, the executor is one of the interested parties in the will.
If a deceased person’s estate qualifies for formal administration and the person named as executor knows it, the best approach is to file for probate as soon as possible. Depending on the size and complexity of the deceased’s estate, probate may require more than six months to complete.
In Florida, different cases require distinct solutions. Depending on how the decedent’s assets were titled at the time of death, some of the property may not need to go through probate. Consult with an expert Florida attorney to find the best alternative for your case.