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What Happens to My Business During Probate?


Probate is a legal process that will take place after a person passes away. Through the course of the probate process, the court will examine and determine the validity of any submitted will. Once the validity of the will is confirmed, the court will order for the distribution of the estate assets in accordance with the dictates of the will. If no valid will is submitted to court, then the estate will be distributed in accordance with Florida’s intestacy laws. Establishing a last will and testament and utilizing estate planning tools can help you to ensure that your assets, to include a business, are distributed in accordance with your wishes.

While Florida’s probate process is notoriously complex, business owners might feel particularly anxious to understand what will happen to their business during probate. This article will explain some of the basics of the probate process and help readers identify next steps.

  1. Florida Probate

The first step in navigating the Florida probate process is to strive to understand probate itself. Probate laws will vary depending on what state will be handling the probate of the estate. It can be vital to consult with experienced Florida probate attorneys and ensure that everything your estate requires is being handled by competent counsel. Florida probate will include filing court petitions, the notification of creditors and heirs, inventorying assets, paying debts, etc. Speaking with experienced legal counsel can help to ensure your estate navigates through the process as quickly and seamlessly as possible.

  1. Planning Business Successions

There are various methods that might be employed to try and ensure that business operations continue to run smoothly during the course of the probate process. One way to prepare is to draft a plan for business succession which details how the business will be managed and who is designated to take over in the event of your death.

Business owners might also consider thinking through a buy-sell agreement. Crafting this agreement will enable business owners to outline how the business is to be sold, or transferred to new ownership. A seasoned wills & probate attorney can help you to identify and understand solutions to any of your wills & estate or probate questions or needs.

  1. Protecting Business Assets

Probate of an estate involves paying creditors their due. If a creditor is notified of the business owner’s death and makes a valid claim of repayment, depending on how the estate was created your business assets could be at risk of being sold or distributed to estate creditors.

Various estate planning tools exist that can protect your assets. A trust, for example, can be created. Depending on the details of the estate plan, a trust might help business owners to avoid probate of certain items that would otherwise need to go through the probate process. A trust can also be built that helps to minimize estate taxes that would otherwise be generated from ownership of the business. A seasoned wills & probate attorney from Suncoast Civil Law can help discuss these options further, and tailor advice to your own specific needs and circumstances.

  1. Working with an Attorney

Probate is often overwhelming. Working with experienced legal counsel can help. The experienced Sarasota wills & probate lawyers at Suncoast Civil law can help to ensure that your business interests are protected during the probate process, and offer key advice to those wishing to build or revise their estate plans. Contact our office today to speak with our team.