THE PROBATE ADMINISTRATION (Florida)
WHERE DO YOU FILE PROBATE PAPERS?
The custodian of a Will must deposit the original copy of the Will with the clerk of the Court having the venue of the decedent’s estate within 10 days of receiving information that the testator is dead. (S. 732.901, Florida Statutes.) There is no fee to deposit the Will with the clerk of Court. However, a filing fee must be paid to the clerk upon opening a probate matter. The clerk then assigns a file number and maintains an ongoing record of all papers filed with the clerk for the administration of the decedent’s probate estate.
In the interest of protecting the decedent’s beneficiaries’ privacy, any documents containing financial information about the decedent’s probate estate are not available for public inspection.
WHO SUPERVISES THE PROBATE ADMINISTRATION?
A circuit court judge presides over probate proceedings.
The judge will consider evidence to confirm the beneficiaries’ identities or decedent’s heirs as those who will receive the decedent’s probate estate.
Suppose the decedent had a Will that nominated a personal representative. In that case, the judge will also decide whether the person or institution appointed is qualified to serve in that position. Suppose the nominated personal representative meets the statutory qualifications. In that case, the judge will issue “Letters of Administration,” also referred to simply as “Letters.” These “Letters” are evidence of the personal representative’s authority to administer the decedent’s probate estate.
Suppose any questions or disputes arise while administering the decedent’s probate estate. In that case, the judge will hold a hearing as necessary to resolve the matter in question. The judge’s decision will be set forth in a written directive called an “Order.”