The term “probate” generally refers to the process through which a decedent’s assets or estate are administered. There are several types of probate proceedings filed with our office.
Whether or not an estate is required to go through probate depends on the assets that the decedent owned at the time of his or her death. If a decedent solely owned any real property at the time of death, the estate would be required to go through probate in order to transfer title of that real property to the decedent’s heirs or beneficiaries. Most often, the beneficiaries or heirs need to seek the assistance of an attorney as our office cannot give legal or procedural advice.
Disposition of Personal Property Without Administration
This process is sometimes referred to as a Small Estate Proceeding. Please refer to Florida Statute 735.301 to determine if you are eligible for this type of process. If real property is part of the estate, this process is not an available option. You may wish to contact an attorney to determine what options are available to you.
The required forms and documentation for a Disposition of Personal Property Without Administration are as follows:
- Original Last Will and Testament of the decedent, if one exists
- Death Certificate
- Copy of the statement from funeral home showing by whom the bill was paid
- Proof of paid funeral expenses, i.e., copy of cleared check, bank statement, credit card statement)
- Signed and notarized consents from all heirs, if any
- Copy of any bank statement, stock certificates, insurance checks, policy value information forms, or any related information regarding the assets to be transferred with this procedure.
Once all required forms and documentation are in order, the Probate Division may assist you in completing the Petition to be submitted to the Court. The filing fee is due at the time the Petition is filed. Additional charges will apply for a certified copy of the Order for Payment of Funds, which is generally required by the financial institution holding the assets. If the Petition is granted, an Order for Payment of Funds will be entered by the court directing the assets to be distributed as outlined in the Petition.
Deposit/Production of Wills
Pursuant to Florida Statute 732.901, the original Last Will and Testament of a deceased person must be deposited with the Clerk of the Circuit Court, having venue of the estate of the decedent, within 10 days of the decedent’s death. The statute also states that the custodian of the will must supply the Clerk with the date of death or social security number of the testator (deceased) upon deposit. We also require the death certificate to be filed with the original will. There is no charge or filing fee to deposit a will with our office.