If a person passes away with a will,the will most likely needs to be probated in order for it to control. The last will written will typically prevail (although there may be circumstances where the last will does not control, such as in the event of accusation of coercion or incapacity of the testator).
If a person passes away without a will, Florida law will determine who will receive what portion of the estate. This will be determined based on a priority set out in the law where a spouse, children, grandchildren, and other family members are considered. Rather than probating a will, one puts the estate into the administration of the court. One or more of the heirs of the estate may petition to become the administrator of the estate, but only one will be chosen to handle the affairs of the estate.
Debts are not inherited, but they must be paid out of the estate before the proceeds are issued to the heirs. For this reason, the Court will often require an executor of administrator to secure a bond prior to taking on duties.
To speak with and attorney about a Probate call 904-779-5585.