Probate administration is the legal process of identifying and gathering a decedent’s assets, identifying and paying creditor’s claims, paying expenses of the estate, and distributing the estate assets to the appropriate beneficiaries. There are several types of probate administration, but it must first be determined if the estate is “Testate” or “Intestate”.
Testate administration occurs if the decedent had a properly executed Last Will & Testament at the time of death. Under testate administration, a personal representative is appointed in the Will as the individual to carry out the administration of the estate. Assets of the estate are distributed to the named beneficiaries in the Will after all debts and expenses are paid.
Intestate administration occurs if the decedent did not have a Last Will & Testament at the time of death. Because there is no Will, the court will appoint a personal representative to administer the estate. Assets of the estate typically pass directly to the heirs of the decedent after all debts and expenses are paid. The definition of heirs includes not only children and grandchildren, but also extends to siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews.
Under Florida law you must have legal counsel to file a probate action.