Quick Guide to Florida Probate Court
Florida Probate Courts
The state of Florida contains some of the most detailed and strict probate procedures throughout the entire country. Under the Florida Probate Court rules, there are 160 pages devoted to just laws and procedures alone. The probate process is extremely complicated in any state, and FL probate courts make the process even more complicated.
If you need help with wills, trusts, and estate, you should contact a real estate attorney. Your attorney should be knowledgeable and up to date on the entire Florida Probate Court rules.
Finding a FL Probate Court
The state of Florida does not set aside individual courts for probate hearings. If the court is overseeing a will, the case will be heard in the Circuit Court of the decedent’s last official location. In order to find a complete list of First and Second Circuit Courts in Florida, you should visit the state’s official judiciary website.
Because it is impossible to cover the entirety of the Florida Probate Court rules, the following sections will provide insight into several unique Florida laws.
Under Rule 5.030(a) of Florida Probate Courts, every guardian and personal representative of an estate must be represented by an attorney that certified under the Florida Bar. If a guardian of the estate is a real estate attorney within the state of FL, they can represent themselves.
The only case in which a personal representative does not need an attorney is if they are receiving sole rights to the entire estate.
Under FL Probate Court Rule 5.340(a-h), a personal representative is responsible for multiple types of inventory. Some of these types of inventory fall below:
Contents and Filing
A personal representative must file a complete inventory of the estate within 60 days of the issuing of the petition. The inventory shall include all the beneficiaries’ rights, details of the estate, and each item listed at an estimated fair market value. Amendments may be added to the contents if there is property not included in the original inventory.
The personal representative is entitled to provide copies of the inventory and all other amended inventories to the surviving spouse, each heir, each residuary beneficiary, and any other person who is interested in the estate upon request.
A personal representative may be ordered to provide the following information upon request:
• An explanation of how all inventory was assessed value
• A receipt or copy of the appraisal
• A written explanation to any beneficiary describing how each item listed under the inventory was distributed or proposed to be distributed
The responsibilities listed above are not all of the possible responsibilities ordered to the personal representative.
Records of Death
Within the state of Florida and under Florida Probate Court Rule 5.171(a-c), any of the following may be needed in order to initiate probate:
An official copy of the death certificate should be issued to an official or agency of the place where the decedent passed away.
A report from a foreign or domestic agency may be required to prove the decedent is dead, alive, missing, detained, or presumed dead. If a person is absent for more than 5 years and their absence cannot be explained, the person is presumed dead.