How to File Probate in the State of Florida

by Jessica Velasco on April 18, 2013

  • Sumo

Transferring title of property from a decedent to an heir is a legal process called probate.  If you want to begin the probate procedures, the heir must file probate pleadings with the appropriate court.  Follow these steps to file probate in the state of Florida.

  • Send in the will and certificate of death to the clerk of courts.  Ensure that it is the original will and not a copy.  The death certificate should be a certified copy as well.
  • Figure out the value of the probate estate.  Calculate the market value of the property, which is the amount of money that a buyer would pay and a seller would accept.
  • The primary residence is exempted from the value of the probate estate, along with any jointly held property.  Jointly held property will just pass onto the surviving owner.
  • Beneficiaries that pay on death are also exempt from the probate value of the estate.  Life insurance and retirement accounts which pay a beneficiary at the death of the title holder are exempt as well.
  • Choose what type of administration you will need to probate.  There are three types of administration in Florida: formal, summary, and disposition without administration.
    • Formal administration involves the courts and requires that a licensed Florida attorney represent you, as the court will be monitoring the probate procedure.
    • Summary administration occurs when the value of the estate is less than $75,000.  The debts must be paid and any creditors have to be consulted.
    • Disposition without administration occurs when the value of property is less than $6,000.
  • The person that steps forward to file probate with the courts should also be the representative of the estate as well.
  • If there is a will, the personal representative or executor is probably chosen already.
  • In the absence of a will, or if the named executor is not willing to probate, a representative should be chosen.  Usually a surviving spouse has the right to serve.
  • In situations where there is no spouse or the spouse doesn’t want to be the executor, a party should be chosen and voted on by the heirs.  This chosen person should be a citizen of Florida.
  • Should there be a disagreement or no consensus as to who the executor should be, the court will appoint someone after a hearing.
  • You should file the probate at the deceased’s county or the county where the property is in.
  • Prepare and file pleadings with the court.  Your Florida probate lawyer will be able to prepare the necessary fillings and keep you notified.
  • If you do not have an attorney, you will need to check the County Clerk’s Office website to get the proper forms, instructions and other information.
  • Make additional copies of all documents before filing.
  • Once you have filed, contact all parties.

Filing Probate in Florida

Filing probate can be a time consuming process, so be prepared for paper work and waiting.  If your paperwork and pleadings are in order, the executor is arranged, and the estate value has been ascertained, you will be set.

Jessica Velasco

Jessica Velasco

Jessica Velasco works for a Clearwater probate attorney at Smitherman Law, 600 Bypass Dr #106, Clearwater, FL 33764, 727-466-1456
Jessica Velasco

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