Wills essentially guide courts in how to handle their assets after they pass. This document does not guarantee that your estate will be distributed immediately.
For this reason, attorneys recommend taking every step possible to avoid probate. But if your loved one passed away with only a will, you may need to go through probate court to receive any inheritance you are entitled to.
Beneficiaries vs. Heirs
Beneficiaries are those who have been explicitly named in a will. They will usually receive a notice about the will being filed. Heirs are those who are related to a person by blood, such as spouses, children, or parents. Oftentimes, people name their heirs as beneficiaries — but that is not always the case. They can also name other individuals and even organizations as beneficiaries.
What Happens If There Is No Will?
In other cases, a person may pass away without a will at all. The Florida circuit court in the county where they lived will distribute the assets according to the statutes. Here are some important considerations under Florida law:
- If a deceased individual has a surviving spouse and no other living heirs, the spouse will receive the entire estate.
- If a deceased individual was not married at the time of their death, immediate family members will receive the entire estate.
- Both biological and legally adopted children will receive a share of a deceased person’s estate.
- The State of Florida rarely receives a deceased person’s estate — the state will only receive their assets if that person has no will and no family.
During the probate process, heirs may have the opportunity to contest a will if they have sufficient evidence to question the legal validity of the document. A probate court will also be responsible for resolving disagreements about estate distribution among heirs. This is typically why going through this legal process is difficult for many families…
Probate court handles these assets, among many others:
- A bank or investment account solely in the name of the deceased person
- Real estate solely in the name of the deceased person
- A life insurance policy or retirement account for a deceased person’s estate
Book a Call with a Probate Attorney Today
In certain cases, where a deceased person left no real estate or where the personal representative (executor) is the only beneficiary, probate may not be necessary.
However, in almost all cases involving probate court, you will need to hire a probate attorney who understands the process and knows how to litigate effectively in the courtroom.
Going through probate with or without a will is overwhelming, even for modest estates. You may be grieving while you deal with all the costs and time commitments of extensive legal proceedings.
You don’t need to undergo the process alone. Book a consultation with Amanda Achong, Esq. today.
16211 NE 18th Ave, Ste 200 N Miami Beach, FL 33162