Distributing the estate to beneficiaries in Palm City is only second to the legal obligations that an estate administrator has to the creditors and their claims. However, both aspects of this legal duty can be complex and difficult to process, especially if you need more time to mourn the loss of a loved one. If you feel as though this legal duty is too much, or even if you need guidance, then you should speak to an experienced trusts and estates attorney in Martin County.
When distributing the estate to beneficiaries or heirs in Palm City, assets are distributed according to the wishes stated by will-maker. Before any distributions are made, though, it is critical that the personal representative make provisions to pay the expenses and costs of the probate estate including personal representative and attorney’s fees, any federal and state taxes that are owed, and payment of any valid claims that had been filed on the case.
A beneficiary designation typically refers to documentation naming beneficiaries directly on an account or a life insurance policy. Assets with beneficiary designations are passed outside of the probate estate and they are typically paid or distributed much more quickly than probate assets.
The order of priority is that specific gifts or devices are typically paid first. Florida has a statute for something known as abatement (Fla. Stat. 733.805). Abatement applies to the order in which estate assets may be used to pay expenses and claims of the estate. The following order is generally observed. First, the class of assets available to pay those expenses would be property passing via intestacy such as the case when somebody does not have a will. Second would be the property that is devised to the residue of the estate. The third is the property that is not specifically or demonstratively devised. Lastly, the fourth is property that is specifically or demonstratively devised.
For example, if there is a gift of $10,000 to the decedent’s brother, that specific gift is probably going to be the last asset that is looked at to satisfy any expenses or claims against the estate.
This priority is fairly strict, but distributions can be altered by an agreement between the beneficiaries which is done through Fla Stat. 733.815.
The Florida statutes dictate a strict rule of priority when it comes to paying claims and expenses of the probate estate. These are laid out in Fla. Stat. 733.707. This goes in order of priority.
The first class to be satisfied would be costs of administration, compensation for the personal representative, and the personal representative’s attorney. The second class would be reasonable funeral and burial costs, up to $6,000. The third class would be debts and taxes with preference that are owed under federal law. Although in reality, the federal government is given an extremely high priority. The fourth class is reasonable and necessary medical and hospital expenses of the last 60 days of the last illness of the decedent.
The fifth class is something known as a “family allowance”. The sixth class is any money that is owed on/or in arrears from court-ordered child support. The seventh class is debts that were acquired after the death of the decedent by virtue of continuation of the decedent’s business. The eighth and final class would be everything else that does not fall into a higher class. Typically, this is where people will see any balances owed on credit cards falling.
However, these classes are typically hard for many estate administrators to understand on their own. For the sake of safety, distributing an estate to beneficiaries in Palm City could instead be done by a seasoned attorney.
Estate administrators in Martin County are held to a number of legal obligations. Foremost are the fiduciary duties that administrators have to creditors. While this could be difficult in of itself, it can be made easier with the help of an experienced attorney. After this, an attorney can continue to help by distributing the estate to beneficiaries in Palm City. You do not have to feel overwhelmed or alone in this duty. Speak with an attorney today for help.