Creating And Protecting Your Legacy

The difference between probates with and without a will

On Behalf of | Jul 10, 2023 | Probate and Estate Administration |

A will plays a significant role in probate proceedings. The document will determine the distribution process, the handler and the inheritors. If you are an interested party in a Florida probate, here are the things you should know about the probate process of willed and unwilled estates.

The person who handles the distribution

If an estate owner creates a will, they can designate an executor of their own choice. While the appointed executor is usually a family member, the testator can choose someone not blood-related if they trust that person to properly manage their estate. When it comes to unwilled estates, the probate court would have to appoint an administrator to oversee the deceased’s estate. This could be any family member the court deems fit. However, it will never be certain if the deceased would have trusted that person to be their executor.

The beneficiaries and inheritors

As long as the will is valid, the named beneficiaries shall receive their share of the estate according to the testator’s wishes. That means it is possible that nonrelated individuals and charities can receive assets over some family members. If there is no will, the administrator will distribute the assets according to Florida’s laws on intestate estates, which usually start distribution with the spouse and children.

The distribution of estate assets

When there is a valid will, the executor shall distribute the estate assets according to the testator’s wishes outlined in the will. Unless there is a ground to challenge it, the will is binding, and the executor must follow the terms as written. On the other hand, an estate without a will or with an invalid will must continue to follow the state’s intestate estate distribution process.

With or without a will, probate can be complex and confusing, especially to parties unfamiliar with legal terms and processes. Without proper knowledge, parties may incur delays or additional costs. Reaching out to a probate professional for assistance can help avoid these drawbacks.