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RobertJDFL, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 13506
Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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Good afternoon, my mother passed away unexpectedly in Feb

Customer Question

Good afternoon, my mother passed away unexpectedly in Feb of this year in FL. My father nor I were named beneficiaries of the one bank account she opened when they relocated nearly 5 years ago. I was the beneficiary of her accounts in Virginia. My question is how do we proceed in order transfer the bank account to his name? Any guidance is very much appreciated.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for using Just Answer. My condolences on your loss. I'm happy to assist you, but I need a little more information first. First, this bank account is in Florida, is that correct? Second, approximately what is the value of the account?Lastly, is there, or will there be a probate estate?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes, the account in is Tampa, FL
I don't have a statement in front of me but I believe she had approximately $15,000 in the account.
Please excuse my ignorance....what do you mean by "probate estate"?
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your reply. No apologies necessary - I sometimes forget that not everyone went to law school! That is my fault. Probate is merely the process by which a person's estate is settled after their passing -an executor (what Florida calls a "personal representative") is appointed, assets are gathered and valued, beneficiaries notified, debts of the estate paid, and so forth. Typically, there wouldn't be a probate estate in the case of spouses because one has left everything to the other, which is what I suspect your mother did with your father. Normally spouses hold everything jointly, so title passes automatically without need for probate. Occasionally however, you do have a situation like this one where one spouse has an account solely in their name. Luckily, Florida has a simplified procedure to handle this type of situation that doesn't require a full probate (costly, and it can take 6-12 months to settle a probate on average) without the need to appoint an executor or anything like that. It's called a "summary administration." think of it as a simplified probate. There are two ways in which an estate can qualify for summary administration in Florida. For summary administration to be available:The decedent must have been dead for more than two years, orThe value of the entire estate subject to administration in Florida, less the value of property exempt from the claims of creditors, must not exceed $75,000.Obviously, your mother's bank account falls into the latter. Florida summary administration starts with filing a petition in court. The petition for summary administration may be filed by any beneficiary or by a person nominated as a personal representative by the decedent’s will, but must be signed and verified by the surviving spouse. Thus, your father would file the petition as the beneficiary. The probate rules require that the petition include facts showing that the estate is eligible for summary administration, a list of assets and their values, certain information about the estate’s debt, and a plan for distributing the assets. Once the court receives the petition and is satisfied that the estate qualifies, the court issues an order distributing the assets. Unlike a formal administration, a personal representative is not appointed. The assets of the estate are immediately distributed to beneficiaries and creditors upon the entry of the order. Your dad would take the signed order to the bank, who would then distribute the funds to him. Florida law actually requires the hiring of a lawyer to file any type of probate. While fees vary, figure a lawyer will likely charge around $1500-$2000 to handle the summary administration paperwork and filing; there is also a filing fee of around $450 (some lawyers work that into their fee, some do not). Your dad may want to call the Florida Bar Lawyer Referral Service at 1***-***-****, and they can put him in touch with a lawyer in his area. Going through this service, a 1/2 hour consultation would be no more then $25. If I may provide you with any follow-up information, please use the REPLY feature, I'm happy to help. Thank you.

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