An Overview of the Probate Process in Florida
- If there is a Will it is deposited with the court.
The original will (with original signatures, not a photocopy) is deposited with the
Clerk of Court. If there isn’t a will, Florida statutes will determine how the estate is
distributed (See here).
If probate has already been done in another state, a certified copy of the Will and
probate proceedings are requested from that out-of-state court.
A "certified" death certificate is one that is obtained and certified from and by official
- A certified death certificate is filed.
sources, such as Vital Records, The Department of Health, a County Clerk, etc.
- A petition is filed with the court to open probate proceedings.
Many wills have what is known as a "self-proving affidavit" that attests to the
- If there is a Will, signatures are proven to be valid.
signatures on it. If this isn’t present a court will request additional documentation.
- Creditors are notified and legal notices are published.
A list of all known creditors is important at the outset of probate.
- Petitions for exemption rights are submitted.
Florida grants exemptions from the claims of the unsecured creditors (e.g., medical
debts, credit cards, etc.) against certain assets in the estate, however, if you don't
ask for these rights, they are not given to you.
After all estate expenses and fees are paid or reimbursed to the party that paid
- Expenses and Claims are paid.
them, claims filed by creditors are considered for payment.
- Accountings are prepared and Assets Distributed.
The Personal Representative must account to the beneficiaries and other interested
parties regarding how they have managed the estate assets during the administration.
Pleadings are prepared and signed or served on all interested parties attesting
that the administration is complete and asking that the personal representative be
discharged and relieved of further responsibility.
This isn’t an
all-inclusive list but it provides a general overview of how the probate
process begins in Florida. To see a list of the types of probate
available in Florida, click here.
Since I quote a flat fee, I gather a great deal of information during a free initial consultation. You can see more details here. This enables me to calculate how much time it will take to complete the case and from this the amount of the flat fee.
While this approach may involve a little more time up front, the outcome
is that you’ll have a firm fee quote from a Florida probate attorney,
at no charge, and with no obligation to move forward.
I invite you to visit the pages listed across the top of the site, or if
you'd like to speak with a Florida probate attorney, please feel free
to call me toll-free at 866-465-8046, or click here to submit an email inquiry and provide the information indicated above.