Probate Estates

Probate Estates and Disposition of Personal Property

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Please allow us to offer our condolences on the passing of your loved one. We understand that this is a difficult time for you and your family. We specialize in buying assets in a Probate Estate. We have a team which includes contractors, attorneys, surveyors and title company agents who can help you and loved ones through what often becomes a difficult and emotionally draining time. You don’t need to worry about making any repairs or improvements. We can close very quickly and will make the process as easy and painless for you as possible.  

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Frequently Asked Questions about Probate in Florida

(The following pertains to Florida Probates only. You should consult an attorney for more information on the Probate process. We are not attorneys and therefore cannot render legal advice.)

What is a Disposition of Personal Property Without Administration?

Formal Administration. This type of proceeding is used when there are considerable assets and it is necessary to appoint a personal representative to act on behalf of the estate. Letters of administration will be issued to the personal representative so that he or she will be able to administer the estate.
Summary Administration. Summary administration may be filed when the value of the entire estate does not exceed $75,000 or when the decedent has been dead for more than two years.
Disposition of Personal Property Without Administration. This type of proceeding is filed to request release of the decedent’s assets to the person who paid for final expenses such as funeral bills or medical bills that accrued in the last 60 days. In this type of proceeding, the decedent’s assets are usually no more than $6,000. Our team has experience in the disposition of personal property without administration. Let our team which included Florida Attorney’s file the disposition of personal property without administration for you. We will give the attorneys a retainer on your behalf, you pay nothing until the property in the state is sold.

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

The following must provided:

  • If the decedent has a will, it must be filed with the clerk for safekeeping within ten days of the notice of death;
  • Itemized, paid funeral bill;
  • Paid receipts for any medical expenses incurred sixty days prior to death;
  • Death certificate;
  • Statement regarding the type of asset to be released;
  • Identification of the person filing; and,
  • Filing fee as set by Florida Statute.

What happens after this information is filed with the clerk?

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

What is Probate in Florida? Probate refers to the combined result of all the procedural acts necessary to establish the validity of a will. It is a legal process through which the assets of a deceased person are collected and inventoried, distributed to pay creditors’ claims against the estate, and, if there are remaining assets, distributed to the heirs or beneficiaries. The Court determines the validity of the will and oversees the process to ensure that the estate is properly administered. The courts will ensure that the deceased person’s property and possessions are divided honestly and fairly.

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 or to distribute property depending on size and complexity of property. The petition is normally prepared by an attorney. The personal representative will be responsible for the estate until all bills are paid and the balance of the estate is distributed to the rightful beneficiaries and they are discharged by the court.

Are there different types of proceedings that can be filed depending on the size of the estate in Florida? Yes. There are three basic types of proceedings for administering the decedent’s estate:

What is a will? When and where should it be filed? A will is a document executed by a person which expresses that person’s wishes as to how property is to be disposed of after the person’s death. A will usually names a personal representative to administer the estate. The custodian of the will must deposit the will in the office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court within 10 days of receiving information that the person is deceased. The custodian should deposit the will with the Clerk of the Circuit Court in the county where the decedent resided. The custodian must 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.

Do you need an attorney to deposit the will with the Clerk in Florida? No. An attorney is not necessary to deposit the will with the Florida Courts. However, you may want to consult with an attorney before filing so that he or she may determine whether probate proceedings are necessary.

What happens if a person dies and has left no will in Florida? If a person dies intestate (without a will), the person’s property will be distributed according to Florida law.

Can a person who is not a Florida resident serve as a personal representative? A person who is not a Florida resident cannot serve as a personal representative unless he or she qualifies under one of the following exceptions.

  • The person is a legally adopted child or adoptive parent of the decedent.
  • The person is related by lineal consanguinity to the decedent.
  • The person is a spouse, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew, or niece of the decedent; or the person is related by lineal consanguinity to one of these people.
  • The person is a spouse of any person listed in numbers 1 through 3 above.

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 if there are assets in the decedent’s name alone.

Can more than one person serve as a personal representative? Yes, more than one person can serve as personal representatives. You can even switch personal representatives after the process has started.

My spouse has died. Do I have to go through probate just to gain access to the checking account? Yes, if the account is held solely in the name of an individual who has died. Any asset, including a checking account that is frozen at the time of death, cannot be made available to you without some sort of court order.

What if the account is in both our names? No. In that case, the checking account (and all assets owned in both your names) passes to you by rights of survivorship. However, you should record a certified copy of the death certificate in the Official Records of the county without cause of death.

Where do I get the death certificate from? Death certificates are obtained from the Health Department of the county where the decedent died.

When will the court appoint a guardian? Generally, if a child is living apart from his natural parents, or if he has received a financial settlement or inheritance of $15,000 or more. The court will appoint a guardian for an adult if he is no longer able to care for himself or his property.

Can I represent myself? Yes, if you are the sole heir to an estate. But you should know the law. You must be represented by counsel in a guardianship.

(You should consult an attorney for more information on the Probate process. We are not attorneys and therefore cannot and are not rendering legal advice.)

Source: Orange County Clerk of Court (Florida) and Seminole County Clerk of Courts (Florida)

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