As a Probate Attorney, Diane McWhirter was featured in Fortune Magazine, September 2015.
PRELIMINARY PROBATE QUESTIONS
1. How/where do I apply for a federal tax ID number?
You apply for this at the IRS website. It is a simple process, but upon request, some banks or my office staff will assist you with this application during a scheduled in-person appointment.
2. I have a small estate, but the life insurance company requires “letters of administration” for the family to receive their inheritance from the insurance company. What should I do?
This step is part of “marshalling the assets.” After receiving the money from the life insurance company, as part of a formal administration the personal representative places the money into a separate bank account marked "Estate Account."
3. Why do I need to open a separate bank account for a small estate without creditors or other expenses?
If the monies are made payable to the Estate, then they should be placed into an Estate account for probate and administration until determination of the creditors' claims, if any.
4. With only one asset must I file an inventory in a very small but formal administration?
Yes, the initial inventory would list the only asset.
5. What is a summary administration?
It is a process for estates with less than $75,000 in assets on the inventory; however, no letters of administration are issued. The estate's creditors must be notified and given time to file a claim against the estate in either proceeding.
6. Who requires the notice of filing proof of publication? Is it the court or the insurance company?
That newspaper publication is a requirement of Florida Statutes to protect the estate and the creditors' claims. The creditors must file their claim with the court within the time allotted or the claim is time barred.