What Is Probate?
Probate is the legal process to distribute a deceased person’s estate to such person’s heirs and designated beneficiaries, and to pay off any debt owed to the deceased person’s creditors at the time of their death. A probate estate includes the decedent’s personal property and Florida real property owned by the decedent, except homestead property. However, note that real property owned by the decedent is not deemed exempt from probate until the probate court enters an order determining that the property is indeed homestead property.
Various assets can pass outside of probate. This can include life insurance proceeds, jointly owned property or accounts, and property held by a husband and wife. Also, assets held in trust at the time of death will normally pass outside of probate. However, the trust assets may be used to satisfy the expenses of estate administration and the claims of creditors if the probate property is insufficient.