Probate

Forms and Assistance

Affidavit of Heirs
Checklist for Closing Estate
Checklist for Opening Estate
Civil Indigence Application
Disposition of Personal Property Waiver & Consent
Disposition of Personal Property Without Administration
Disposition of Personal Property Without Administration - Verified Statement
List of Probate Forms
Living Wills
Probate in Florida
Revocable Trusts in Florida
Statement of Claim
Summary Administration Checklist

Wills And Estates FAQ'S (850) 606-4180

Are there different types of proceedings that can be filed, depending on the size of the estate?

There are 3 basic types of proceedings for administering the decedent's estate:

Formal Administration - This type of proceeding is used when it is necessary to appoint a personal representative to act on behalf of the estate because there are considerable assets or other special circumstances. The capacity in which the representative will act is determined by the Court at the time of the appointment and letters of administration will be issued to the representative so that he/she may complete the administration of the estate.

Summary Administration - Summary administration may be filed when the value of the entire estate does not exceed $75,000 or, that the decedent has been dead for more than 2 years. .

Disposition of Personal Property Without Administration - The disposition is filed to request release of assets of the deceased to the person who paid the final expenses, such as funeral bills or medical bills for the last 60 days. This procedure may be accomplished with the filing of a petition. The form required to file the disposition is available from the Clerk of Circuit Court in the Probate Division. This cannot include real property.

How are probate proceedings initiated?

Probate proceedings are initiated with the filing of a petition by an interested person asking to be appointed personal representative and/or distribute property depending on size and complexity of property. The petition is normally prepared by an attorney. The appointed person will be responsible for the estate until all bills are paid and the balance of the estate is distributed to the rightful beneficiaries.

Is it necessary for me to have an attorney?

Florida Rules of Probate Procedure 5.030 says:

(a) Required; Exception. Every guardian and every personal representative, unless the personal representative remains the sole interested person, shall be represented by an attorney admitted to practice in Florida. A guardian or personal representative who is an attorney admitted to practice in Florida may represent himself or herself as guardian or personal representative.

If you need assistance in finding a probate lawyer, this LINK will help.

What happens after this information is filed with the Clerk?

The Court will enter an order either allowing or disallowing the release of the assets. A certified copy of the order is then mailed to the petitioner.

What happens if a person dies and has left no will?

The property will be distributed in accordance with Florida law.

What happens if there is a will filed, but no personal representative has been named?

It will be necessary for an attorney to petition the Court to appoint a personal representative to administer the estate.

What is a will? When and where should it be filed?

A will is a document executed by a person which disposes of his/her property after death. It generally names a personal representative to administer the estate. The custodian of the will must deposit the will with the Clerk of the Circuit Court, within 10 days after receiving information that the person is deceased. The custodian should supply the person's date of death or the person's social security number to the Clerk upon deposit of the will, if this information is available.

What is probate?

Probate is a legal process through which the assets of a deceased person are distributed to the heirs or beneficiaries. The Court oversees the estate to make sure debts are disposed of and proper distribution is made.

What resources are available to me, whether I get an attorney or not?

The Florida Probate Code is found in Chapters 731 through 735 of the Florida Statutes, which are located HERE.
The Florida Probate rules of court are located HERE.
And a helpful brochure from the Florida Bar is located HERE.

What type of paperwork must accompany the form for filing a disposition of personal property without administration?

The following must be provided:

  • If the decedent has a will, it must be filed with the Clerk of Circuit Court within ten days of the notice of death.
  • Itemized, paid funeral bill. Receipt must identify the individual paying the bill.
  • Paid receipts for any medical expenses incurred sixty days prior to death.
  • Death certificate.
  • Specific information regarding the type of assets to be released.
  • Identification of the person filing.
  • Filing fee as set by Florida Statutes.