Law Office of Mary Alice Gwynn, PA
Inheritances and Bequests Are Received Near the End of Probate
Probate is the legal process of settling the final affairs of a deceased individual. While distributing inheritances and bequests is part of that process, it is not the most important part. While heirs and beneficiaries may feel that it is, asset distribution actually comes near the end of the entire process.
Florida executors have to take many steps to ensure that estates are closed properly. If an error occurs, an executor could hold personal responsibility for any financial obligations that result from that error. As a result, it is important that these individuals inventory the assets, obtain values for those assets and determine whether the estate has enough funds to cover remaining taxes, bills and other financial matters. If there are not enough funds, the creditors will be paid by order of priority.
Because these financial affairs must be handled first, beneficiaries could end up with less than they had anticipated. For instance, if a decedent indicated that a person should obtain a specific dollar amount but outstanding balances diminished that amount, the beneficiary may feel cheated. Unfortunately, that is simply an outcome that must be accepted unless the beneficiary believes that some type of wrongdoing resulted in the lesser bequest.
Many Florida residents look forward to the inheritances and bequests that they may receive from loved ones' estates. What they may not look forward to, however, is having to wait an extended period of time to receive their intended assets. Still, waiting is part of the process when it comes to settling a loved one's estate.