If you are the custodian of a will, or you were chosen as an executor, you may be wondering how to begin your duties. Opening an estate in probate court for Stuart estates, which occurs at the Clerk’s office located in Stuart, FL, involves varying levels of complexity, depending on the size and composition of the deceased person’s assets, as well as consideration of any possible disputes.
Heirs of a departed loved one who passed without a will may also be interested in having an estate opened. If you are a relative of someone who has passed away without a last will and testament, it might benefit you to speak with an attorney in Stuart about claiming your right to estate property.
In order to open an estate in Stuart, interested parties must follow the local laws. The Florida Statutes and the Florida Probate Rules provide a compilation of many of the relevant regulations.
The probate process may begin when the custodian of a will files it with the Stuart clerk. If there is no known custodian of the will, then the relatives of the deceased may want to perform a diligent search to see if they can find one among the effects of the departed.
Once the will has been filed, interested or authorized parties may submit a petition for administration of the probate estate to the court. If there was no will, the process of opening a probate estate for administration is very similar except that the petitioner has not been named in a will but is typically a close blood relative.
If a decedent has passed away without a will or other type of testamentary instrument, the estate is referred to as intestate. Ultimately any assets left after the payment of valid claims and expenses during the probate process will be distributed via intestate succession.
Per Fl. Stat. §732.102, a spouse of the departed with no surviving descendants may receive the entire intestate estate. However, if the decedent left behind living children who are not also the spouse’s children, the spouse may be required to share one-half of the intestate assets with the children of the decedent.
When a Stuart resident dies without a living spouse or children, and there is no will, the other relatives of the decedent may be entitled to a share of the estate’s property.
The State of Florida does not impose an estate tax of its own, but the federal government does. Under federal law, Stuart estates worth in excess of $11.4M million (for 2019) may owe estate tax.
If you are the custodian of a will, and the writer of that document has died, by law you may need to file it with the county clerk. Opening an estate in Stuart begins with the filing of the will and a petition for probate.
Even if your loved one did not leave behind a will or testamentary instrument, you could be entitled to an intestate share of their assets. The laws for Stuart probate and intestate succession can be intricate, so it is prudent to seek the advice of an experienced trusts and estate attorney.