When probate takes too long to complete, the heirs and beneficiaries may question whether it is possible for the personal representative to partially distribute part of the assets subject to probate. In this article, you will find out what an interim distribution of probate property is in Florida.
What is an Interim Distribution of Probate Estate in Florida? – The Basics
The Florida Probate Code establishes specific statutory rules regarding when and how a beneficiary of an estate may receive his or her rightful share of the property. Several factors may delay the distribution process, such as:
- Pending litigations
- Will contests
- The discovery of a new will or trust
- Unknown assets
- Unknown interested parties (i.e., heirs, beneficiaries, creditors, etc.)
- Complex estates
- Unsettled tax liabilities
- Disputes among the parties involved in the process
- Lack of competence by the personal representative
If it is not possible to fully distribute the probate property to their rightful new owners, the personal representative may seek authorization from the court to proceed with a partial distribution while the estate’s administration is still ongoing.
This process is referred to as “interim distribution,” facilitating the distribution of probate assets to the decedent’s heirs and beneficiaries under Florida law.
Interim Distribution of Probate Estate in Florida – As Provided by Law
Florida Statutes 733.612 provides that “a personal representative, acting reasonably for the benefit of the interested persons, may properly:
- Retain assets owned by the decedent, pending distribution or liquidation, including those in which the personal representative is personally interested or that are otherwise improper for fiduciary investments
- Acquire or dispose of an asset, excluding real property in this or another state, for cash or on credit and at public or private sale, and manage, develop, improve, exchange, partition, or change the character of an estate asset
- Make partial distribution to the beneficiaries of any part of the estate not necessary to satisfy claims, expenses of administration, taxes, family allowance, exempt property, and an elective share, in accordance with the decedent’s will or as authorized by operation of law”
When proceeding with an interim distribution of probate estate, the personal representative may “execute any instruments necessary in the exercise of the personal representative’s powers.” (Fla. Stat. §733.612 (27))
Interim Distribution of Probate Estate in Florida – Attention to Detail
Please note that the interim distribution of probate estate depends on two conditions – the existence of actual beneficiaries and whether the assets that comprise the estate are sufficient to proceed with a partial distribution.
Considering an interim distribution requires certainty that all proposed distributees involved in the process are actual beneficiaries, no partial distribution may take place while there is pending litigation as to an individual’s beneficial interest.
As specified by Florida Statutes §733.612(26), a personal representative may only proceed with a partial distribution if there are sufficient assets besides those” necessary to satisfy claims, expenses of administration, taxes, family allowance, exempt property, and an elective share (…).”
Filing for Interim Distribution of Probate Estate
A beneficiary of an estate who believes he or she is entitled to a partial distribution based on proper legal grounds may file a petition for interim distribution. The petition must be submitted in the court where the probate estate is being administered.
In the petition, the beneficiary must demonstrate the existence of sufficient property for distribution without compromising the estate.
Immediately Contact Your Florida Probate Attorney
Filing for interim distribution of probate estate in Florida requires a strategic approach. Call Attorneys Romy B. Jurado and Diana L. Collazos at (305) 921-0976 or email [email protected] to schedule a consultation.