Wills and Probate
A will is a formal document that directs how a person’s assets will be distributed after death. Probate is the court process of administering a person’s assets (the “estate”) according to the will. A will appoints someone to gather and distribute assets (the “personal representative”), defines who will receive the assets (the “beneficiaries”), and directs how the process will proceed. The process begins after the will has been “admitted to probate” and is supervised by the Probate Court. Many people ask, “do I need a will?” If a person owns assets in his or her name alone and dies without a will (dies “intestate”), state statutes provide how the person’s assets will be distributed. In general, Florida statutes distribute assets according to blood relations, and not necessarily in the order you would choose.