Florida Probate Lawyer Answers FAQs About Probate

The following answers to frequently asked questions about probate in Florida may help you understand the Florida probate process. Whether you are a personal representative (executor) of a Florida probate matter, a beneficiary of a Florida probate estate, or a creditor seeking to have a claim paid, the attorneys and lawyers at The Florida Probate Lawyer can assist you with your probate needs. If you need a probate lawyer in Florida, please Email us at Info@TheFloridaProbateLawyer.com, telephone us at (904) 448-1969, or toll free to (866) 510-9099.

Florida Probate Law – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. WHAT IS PROBATE IN FLORIDA?

2. WHAT ARE FLORIDA PROBATE ASSETS?

3. WHY IS PROBATE NECESSARY IN FLORIDA?

4. WHAT IS A LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT?

5. WHAT HAPPENS TO PROBATE ASSETS IF THERE IS NO LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT?

6. WHO IS INVOLVED IN THE FLORIDA PROBATE PROCESS?

7. WHERE ARE PROBATE PAPERS FILED IN FLORIDA?

8. WHO SUPERVISES THE FLORIDA PROBATE ADMINISTRATION?

9. WHAT IS A PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE (Executor), AND WHAT DOES THE PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE DO IN A FLORIDA PROBATE?

10. WHO CAN BE A PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE (Executor) FOR A PROBATE ESTATE IN FLORIDA?

11. WHO HAS PREFERENCE TO BE PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE?

12. WHY DOES THE PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE NEED A FLORIDA PROBATE ATTORNEY?

13. HOW ARE ESTATE CREDITORS HANDLED IN A FLORIDA PROBATE ESTATE?

14. HOW IS THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE (“IRS”) INVOLVED?

15. HOW IS THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE INVOLVED?

16. WHAT RIGHTS DO THE SURVIVING FAMILY HAVE IN THE FLORIDA PROBATE ESTATE?

17. WHAT RIGHTS DO OTHER POTENTIAL BENEFICIARIES (OTHER THAN THE SURVIVING SPOUSE AND CHILDREN UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES) HAVE IN THE FLORIDA PROBATE ESTATE?

18. HOW LONG DOES A PROBATE TAKE IN FLORIDA?

19. HOW ARE PROBATE FEES DETERMINED IN FLORIDA PROBATE?

20. WHAT ALTERNATIVES ARE AVAILABLE TO FORMAL ADMINISTRATION IN PROBATE COURT IN FLORIDA?

21. WHAT IF THERE IS A REVOCABLE LIVING TRUST?

1. WHAT IS FLORIDA PROBATE?

Florida probate is a court-supervised process for identifying and gathering the decedent’s assets, paying taxes, claims and expenses and distributing assets to probate beneficiaries. The Florida Probate Code is found in Chapters 731 through 735 of the Florida Statutes.

If you need an experienced probate lawyer in Florida, please call us toll free at 866-510-9099, or email us at Info@TheFloridaProbateLawyer.com.

How is an estate probated or administered?

Florida probate law establishes two primary types of Florida probate administration:

  1. Formal Probate Administration, which involves probate of an estate with assets valued greater than $75,000, and with which most of this information deals and
  2. Summary Probate Administration, which involves probate of an estate with assets valued less than $75,000 (not including the value of an exempt Florida homestead or other personal property exempt from creditor claims); or if the decedent has been dead for more than two years.

Both of those primary types of probate require the assistance of a Florida probate lawyer. If you need the assistance of an experienced Florida probate attorney to assist you with the administration of a probate estate for either a formal administration or a summary administration, or an ancillary administration, please contact us The Florida Probate Lawyer, PLLC toll free at 866-510-9099, or by email to Info@TheFloridaProbateLawyer.com.

Florida probate law also establishes a non-administration proceeding called “Disposition of Personal Property Without Administration.”

For those who die in another state, where there is a primary probate proceeding taking place, Florida probate law provides for ancillary administration for the non-resident’s Florida assets that must be probated in Florida. (Back to Florida Probate FAQ)

2. WHAT ARE FLORIDA PROBATE ASSETS?

Generally, Florida probate assets are those assets in the decedent’s sole name at death or otherwise owned solely by the decedent and which contain no provision for automatic succession of ownership at death. For example:

  • a bank account in the sole name of a decedent is a Florida probate asset, but a bank account held in-trust-for (ITF) another, or held jointly with rights of survivorship (JTWROS) with another, is not a Florida probate asset and is not subject to probate;
  • a life insurance policy, annuity or individual retirement account that is payable to a specific beneficiary is not a Florida probate asset, but a life insurance policy, retirement account or annuity payable to the decedent’s estate is a Florida probate asset and is subject to probate in Florida;
  • Florida real estate titled in the sole name of the decedent or as a tenant in common with another person, is a probate asset (unless it is exempt Florida homestead) and is subject to probate, but real estate held as joint tenants with rights of survivorship or as tenants by the entirety is not a Florida probate asset and is not subject to probate in Florida;
  • property owned by husband and wife as tenants by the entirety is not a Florida probate asset on the death of the first spouse to die, but goes automatically to the surviving spouse.

This list is not exclusive but is intended to be illustrative of the types of assets that are subject to probate in Florida. (Back to Florida Probate FAQ)

3. WHY IS PROBATE NECESSARY IN FLORIDA?

Probate administration, or estate settlement, is necessary in Florida to wind up the affairs the decedent leaves behind. It ensures that all of the decedent’s creditors are properly paid. Florida probate also serves to transfer probate assets from the decedent’s individual name to the proper beneficiary of the Florida probate estate. Florida has had probate laws in force since becoming a state in 1845. Florida probate law provides for all aspects of the probate process, but allows the decedent to make certain decisions by leaving a valid Florida last will and testament. (Back to Florida Probate FAQ)

4. WHAT IS A LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT?

A Florida last will and testament is a writing, signed by the decedent and witnesses, which meets formal requirements set forth by Florida probate law. A Florida last will and testament usually designates a personal representative to administer the Florida probate estate and names beneficiaries to receive probate assets. A last will and testament can also do other things, including establishing a testamentary trust and designating a trustee.

Do I need the original will?

To the extent a Florida last will and testament properly devises probate assets and designates a personal representative, the Florida will controls over the automatic provisions set forth under the Florida probate statutes. If there is no will and testament, or if the Florida will fails in either respect so that the probate court is without a will, Florida probate law designates the beneficiaries of the Florida probate estate and designates the way to select the Florida personal representative for the probate estate. The intestacy statute may result in the distribution of assets in a manner not contemplated by you.

For instance, if the decedent is married and has children, the surviving spouse receives half of the assets, plus $60,000, and the children receive the remainder of the probate estate. Most long term married couples prefer that everything go to the surviving spouse, rather than dividing assets between the surviving spouse and the children. However, if it is a blended family, quite frequently the spouses want to ensure that upon the death of the first spouse to die, that the children of the deceased spouse have some guaranteed distribution. Otherwise, the deceased spouse’s assets may not be distributed to the right beneficiaries. (Back to Florida Probate FAQ)

If you need a Florida probate lawyer to represent you in a Florida estate probate, please call us at (904) 448-1969, toll free at 866-510-9099 or email us at Info@TheFloridaProbateLawyer.com.

5. WHAT HAPPENS TO FLORIDA PROBATE ASSETS IF THERE IS NO WILL AND TESTAMENT?

What is the difference between Testate and Intestate?

Contrary to the belief of some, the decedent’s probate assets are not turned over to the State of Florida unless no intestate heirs can be found. If there is no will and testament, the assets of the decedent will be distributed to the intestate heirs under the Florida law of intestacy as follows:

  • Surviving Spouse and No Lineal Descendants. If there is a surviving spouse and no lineal descendants, the surviving spouse takes all of the Florida probate estate as the only intestate heir.
  • Surviving spouse and lineal descendants.
  1. If there is a surviving spouse and one or more lineal descendants (with the lineal descendants all being the lineal descendants of the surviving spouse as well as the decedent), the surviving spouse receives the entire Florida probate estate.
  2. If there is a surviving spouse, and the surviving spouse has one or more lineal descendants who are not the lineal descendants of the decedent, and there are lineal descendants of the decedent who are also the lineal descendants of the surviving spouse, then the surviving spouse receives one half of the probate estate.
  3. If there is a surviving spouse and one or more lineal descendants (one or more of which lineal descendants are not also lineal descendants of the surviving spouse), the surviving spouse receives one-half of the Florida probate assets and the lineal descendants share the remaining half of the Florida probate estate.
  • No Surviving Spouse, But Lineal Descendants. If there is no surviving spouse, but there are lineal descendants, the intestate heirs are the lineal descendants who share the probate estate assets, which is initially broken into shares at the children’s level, with a deceased child’s share going to the descendants of that deceased child.
  • No Surviving Spouse, No Lineal Descendants. If the decedent left no surviving spouse or lineal descendants, the probate property goes to the the next intestate heirs who are the decedent’s surviving parents, and if none, then to the decedent’s brothers and sisters and descendants of any deceased brothers or sisters. The Florida probate law provides for further disposition if the decedent is survived by none of these.
  • Exceptions to Above. The above provisions are subject to certain exceptions for Florida exempt homestead property, exempt personal property, and a statutory family allowance to the surviving spouse and any lineal descendants or ascendants the decedent supported. Regarding Florida exempt homestead, if titled in the decedent’s name alone, the surviving spouse receives a life estate in the exempt Florida homestead with the option to take a 50% ownership of the property, with the lineal descendants of the deceased spouse receiving the Florida exempt homestead property upon the death of the surviving spouse. If there are no lineal descendants, the surviving spouse receives full ownership of the Florida exempt homestead outright. (Back to Florida Probate FAQ)

If you need the counsel of a Florida probate lawyer to represent you in a testate or intestate probate in Florida, please call us at (904) 448-1969, toll free at 866-510-9099, or email us at Info@TheFloridaProbateLawyer.com.

6. WHO IS INVOLVED IN THE FLORIDA PROBATE PROCESS?

While there may be others, the following is a list of persons or entities often involved in the probate process:

  • Clerk of the Circuit Court (See Question 7) of the county in which the decedent resided at the time of death.
  • Circuit Court (acting through a Circuit Court Probate Judge, See Question 8).
  • Personal Representative (See Questions 9 through 11).
  • Florida probate Attorney for the Personal Representative (See Question 12).
  • Claimants (the estate’s creditors) (See Question 13).
  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS) (See Question 14).
  • Florida Department of Revenue (See Question 15).
  • Surviving Spouse and Children (See Question 16).
  • Other Florida Probate Estate Beneficiaries (See Question 17).
  • Trustee of Revocable Living Trust (See Question 21). (Back to Florida Probate FAQ)

7. WHERE ARE FLORIDA PROBATE PAPERS FILED?

Where is probate handled?

Florida probate forms and papers are filed with the Clerk of the Circuit Court, usually for the county where the decedent lived. For the Florida Probate Lawyer’s Directory of Counties and Cities in Florida, scroll to the bottom of this page. A probate filing fee must be paid to the probate clerk to commence the Florida probate administration. The probate clerk assigns a file number and maintains a docket sheet which lists all probate forms and papers filed with the probate clerk for that probate administration. (Back to Florida Probate FAQ)

8. WHO SUPERVISES THE PROBATE ADMINISTRATION IN FLORIDA?

Who decides whether a petition for probate or administration will be approved?

A Circuit Court Judge presides over probate proceedings. The probate judge appoints the personal representative and issues “letters of administration,” also referred to simply as “letters,” or “letters testamentary.” This probate document shows to the world the authority of the personal representative to act on behalf of the Florida probate estate. The probate Judge also holds hearings with the Florida probate lawyers when necessary and resolves all questions of Florida probate law raised during the administration of the probate estate by entering written directions called “orders.”

On occasion, third parties do not voluntarily acknowledge the legal authority of the personal representative provided by the letters of administration. In those situations, you may have no option other than to pursue legal action against the institution involved to force that third party to recognize the order of the probate court.

If you need a probate lawyer in Florida to help you with your Florida probate estate, please call us at (904) 448-1969, toll free at 1-866-510-9099, or email us at Info@TheFloridaProbateLawyer.com.

(Back to Florida Probate FAQ)

9. WHAT IS A PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE (“EXECUTOR”), AND WHAT DOES THE PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE DO?

What are the duties of a personal representative (executor)?

The personal representative is the person, bank or trust company appointed by the Florida probate court to be in charge of the administration of the probate estate. The generic term “personal representative” has replaced such terms as “executor, executrix, administrator and administratrix.”

The personal representative is directed by the probate court to administer the probate estate pursuant to probate law. Unless the personal representative is a Florida lawyer, the personal representative must hire a probate lawyer in Florida for representation of the personal representative in the probate court. The personal representative is obligated to:

  • Identify, gather, value and safeguard Florida probate assets.
  • Publish a “notice to creditors” in a local newspaper, giving notice to file claims with the Florida probate court and other papers relating to the probate estate within the prescribed probate timeline.
  • Serve a “notice of administration” on specific persons, in accordance with the Florida probate timeline, giving information about the probate estate administration and giving notice of requirements to file within the probate timeline, with the Florida probate court, any objections relating to the probate estate.
  • Conduct a diligent search to locate “known or reasonably ascertainable” creditors, and notify them of the probate timeline by which their claims must be filed with the Florida probate court.
  • Object to improper claims and, the the personal representative’s probate lawyer, defend lawsuits brought in the Florida probate court on such claims.
  • Pay valid claims of the probate estate and to object to those claims that are not the legal obligation of the estate.
  • File tax returns, including, if necessary the Federal Estate Tax Return (Form 706).
  • Pay income taxes, federal estate taxes, and any other taxes owed by the probate estate.
  • Employ necessary probate professionals, such as a Florida probate attorney, accountants, appraisers, etc., to assist the personal representative in the performance of the executor’s duties and responsibilities.
  • Pay probate administrative expenses from the probate assets.
  • Distribute statutory amounts or probate assets to the surviving spouse or family.
  • Distribute probate assets to beneficiaries of the probate estate according to the terms of the last will and testament, or if there is no will, according to the Florida law of intestacy. The Florida probate lawyer will provide legal advice regarding the intestate heirs and the portion of the estate each is to receive.
  • Close probate administration with the Florida probate court. (Back to Florida Probate FAQ)

If you need a Florida probate lawyer to represent you as the personal representative of a Florida probate estate, please call us at (904) 448-1969, toll free at 866-510-9099, or email us at Info@TheFloridaProbateLawyer.com.

10. WHO CAN BE A PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE?

Who can be appointed personal representative (executor)?
The personal representative can be an individual, bank, or trust company, subject to certain restrictions.
An individual who is either a resident of Florida, or is a spouse, sibling, parent, child, or certain other close relative of the decedent, can serve as Florida personal representative.
A trust company incorporated under the laws of Florida, or a bank or savings and loan authorized and qualified to exercise fiduciary powers in Florida, can serve as Florida personal representative.
(Back to Florida Probate FAQ)

11. WHO HAS PREFERENCE TO BE PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE?

If the decedent left a valid Florida last will and testament, the designated personal representative (executor) nominated in the FL will has preference to serve.

If the decedent did not leave a valid Florida last will and testament, the surviving spouse has preference to serve as personal representative of the probate estate, with second preference to the person selected by a majority in interest of the probate heirs.

Any challenge to the appointment of a personal representative must be filed with the Florida probate court within 90 days of the filing of the petition for the appointment of the personal representative. (Back to Florida Probate FAQ)

12. WHY DOES THE PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE NEED A FLORIDA PROBATE ATTORNEY?

In almost all instances the personal representative must be represented by a Florida probate lawyer or attorney. Many legal issues arise, even in the simplest Florida probate estate administration that require legal advice from an experienced probate lawyer in Florida.

Do I need an attorney to handle an estate?

The Florida probate attorney for the personal representative advises the personal representative on rights and duties under the Florida probate law, and represents the personal representative (executor) in the Florida probate estate proceedings. The Florida probate attorney for the personal representative is not the probate lawyer for the beneficiaries.

A provision in a Florida last will and testament mandating that a particular Florida probate attorney or probate law firm be employed as the probate attorney for the personal representative is not binding on the personal representative.

If you need an experienced probate attorney in Florida to counsel you about a Florida probate matter, please contact The Florida Probate Lawyer, PLLC at (904) 448-1969, toll free at 866-510-9099, or email us at Info@TheFloridaProbateLawyer.com.

Who pays for the estate attorney?

(Back to Florida Probate FAQ)

13. HOW ARE ESTATE CREDITORS HANDLED?

Prior to commencement of Florida probate proceedings, a creditor can file a caveat with the Florida probate court. Upon publication of notice to creditors a creditor or other claimant may file with the Florida probate court a document called a “statement of claim” against the probate estate with the Clerk of the Circuit Court where the probate estate is being administered. This claim is generally required to be filed with the Florida probate court within the probate timeline of the first three months of publication of a prescribed notice in a countywide newspaper. This three-month period is often referred to as the “non-claim period.” The personal representative or any other interested person may file with the probate court an objection to the statement of claim, after which the claimant must file a separate independent lawsuit in the Florida probate court to pursue the claim.

The personal representative is required to use diligent efforts to give actual notice of the Florida probate court proceeding to “known or reasonably ascertainable” creditors, to afford them an opportunity to file claims with the Florida probate court. A valid claimant is not viewed as an adversary of the personal representative in Florida but rather must be treated fairly as a person interested in the Florida probate estate until the claim has been satisfied or otherwise disposed of. The probate lawyer can help you determine whether the claim is valid or not. (Back to Florida Probate FAQ)

If you need a probate lawyer in Florida to represent you as a creditor of a probate estate in Florida, please call us toll free at 866-510-9099.

14. HOW IS THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE (“IRS”) INVOLVED?

For federal income tax purposes, death triggers two things. It ends the decedent’s last tax year for purposes of filing a federal income tax return, and it establishes a new tax entity, the “estate.”

The personal representative may be required to file the following tax returns, depending on income of the decedent, income of the probate estate and value of the probate estate assets:

  • Final Form 1040 federal income tax return, reporting income for the decedent’s final tax year.
  • One or more Form 1041 federal income tax returns for the probate estate, reporting income for the probate estate.
  • Form 709 gift tax return(s), reporting certain gifts made by the decedent prior to death.
  • Form 706 federal estate tax return, reporting the gross estate and deductions, depending upon the value of the gross estate.

The personal representative may be required to file other returns. Additionally, the personal representative has the responsibility to deal with issues arising from tax years prior to the decedent’s death (including tax returns that were filed by the decedent or that should have been filed).

The personal representative has the responsibility to pay amounts due to the IRS from the decedent and the probate estate and may be personally liable for those taxes. If a federal estate tax return is required to be filed, an estate tax closing letter is necessary to clear title to Florida real property, and in some instances in order to close the Florida probate administration with the Florida probate court.

If you need a Florida probate tax attorney to work with the IRS on your behalf with regard to a Florida probate estate, then please call us at (904) 448-1969, toll free at 1-866-510-9099, or email us at Info@TheFloridaProbateLawyer.com.

(Back to Florida Probate FAQ)

15. HOW IS THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE INVOLVED?

The Florida personal representative is required to send a copy of the probate inventory to the Florida Department of Revenue. If a federal estate tax return is not required to be filed with the IRS, then the personal representative is required to record in the public records (and file in a formal estate administration) an Affidavit of No Florida Estate Tax Due. If a federal estate tax return is required to be filed with the IRS, then the personal representative is required to file a Florida estate tax return, Form F-706, with the Florida Department of Revenue.” The Florida probate attorney for the personal representative will help ensure that all tax compliance matters are handled in a timely and legally proper manner.

Regarding Florida’s now repealed intangible tax, the Florida Department of Revenue may review the inventory to determine whether the probate estate, or the decedent while alive, failed to file a required intangible tax return or to pay intangible tax.

For estates required to file a Florida estate tax return, a nontaxable certificate or a tax receipt from the Florida Department of Revenue is required in order to clear title to Florida real property and in order to close a formal probate administration. (Back to Florida Probate FAQ)

16. WHAT RIGHTS DO THE SURVIVING FAMILY HAVE IN THE PROBATE ESTATE?

Florida public policy and the Florida probate code protect the surviving spouse and certain surviving children from total disinheritance. Absent a pre-marital or post-marital agreement to the contrary, a surviving spouse may have exempt Florida homestead rights, spousal elective share rights, family allowance rights, and exempt property rights. In addition, certain surviving children of the decedent may also have exempt Florida homestead rights, pretermitted child rights, family allowance rights, and exempt property rights. The existence and enforcement of these rights are often best handled by an experienced Florida probate attorney.

If you need a Florida probate attorney to help you protect your rights in a Florida probate estate, please call us at (904) 448-1969, toll free at 1-866-510-9099, or email us at Info@TheFloridaProbateLawyer.com.

(Back to Florida Probate FAQ)

17. WHAT RIGHTS DO OTHER POTENTIAL BENEFICIARIES (OTHER THAN THE SURVIVING SPOUSE AND CHILDREN UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES) HAVE IN THE PROBATE ESTATE?

Under Florida probate law, as with most other states probate laws, a decedent may entirely disinherit other potential beneficiaries. (Back to Florida Probate FAQ)

If you need a probate lawyer in Florida to represent you as a beneficiary of a Florida probate estate, please call us toll free at 866-510-9099.

18. HOW LONG DOES PROBATE TAKE IN FLORIDA?

For Florida probate estates not required to file a federal estate tax return, the final accounting and papers to close the Florida probate administration are due within 12 months of issuance of letters of administration. This period can be extended by the Florida probate court, after notice to interested persons, and the filing with the probate court by the probate lawyer, a written request seeking an extension of time and state the reasons for the request.

The federal estate tax return is initially due nine months after death and may be extended for another six months, for a total of 15 months. If a federal estate tax return is required, the final accounting and papers to close the Florida probate administration are due within 12 months from the date the tax return is due. This date is usually extended by the Florida probate court because often the IRS’ review and acceptance of the probate estate tax return are not completed within that period.

Florida probate estates that are not required to file a federal estate tax return and that do not involve probate or estate litigation may often close in five or six months. (Back to Florida Probate FAQ)

19. HOW ARE PROBATE FEES DETERMINED IN A FLORIDA PROBATE?

The personal representative, the Florida probate attorney and other professionals whose services may be required in administering the probate estate (such as appraisers and accountants) are entitled by Florida probate law to reasonable compensation.

The probate fee for the personal representative is usually determined in one of five ways: (1) as set forth in the Florida last will and testament; (2) as set forth in a contract between the personal representative and the decedent; (3) as agreed among the personal representative and the persons who bear the impact of the probate fee; (4) as the amount presumed to be reasonable as calculated under Florida probate law if the amount is not objected to; or (5) as determined by the Florida probate judge, applying the Florida probate code and the Florida law of probate.

Likewise, the legal probate fee for the Florida probate attorney for the personal representative is usually determined (1) as agreed among the Florida probate lawyer, the personal representative and the persons who bear the impact of the fee, (2) as the amount presumed to be reasonable calculated under Florida probate law, if the amount is not objected to, or (3) as determined by the Florida probate judge, applying the Florida probate code and the Florida law of probate. (Back to Florida Probate FAQ)

20. WHAT ALTERNATIVES ARE AVAILABLE TO FORMAL ADMINISTRATION?

Florida probate law provides for several alternate, abbreviated procedures other than Formal Probate Administration.

Summary Probate Administration is generally available if the value of the estate subject to probate in Florida (less property which is exempt from the claims of creditors) is not more than $75,000 or the decedent has been dead for more than two years. A probate attorney in Florida can assist you with the filing of a summary probate administration. If you need the assistance of a Florida probate lawyer to assist you with a Florida probate estate, please call us at (904) 448-1969, toll free at 1-866-510-9099, email us at Info@TheFloridaProbateLawyer.com.

Under Summary Probate Administration, the persons who receive the probate estate assets remain liable for creditor claims against the decedent for two years after the date of death. This period may be reduced in Summary Probate Administration by publication of a “notice of administration” in a local newspaper. Our experienced Florida probate lawyers will assist you with the proper format of the notice of administration, and will provide legal advice regarding where and when it should be filed in the Florida probate court.

Another alternative to Formal Probate Administration is “Disposition Without Administration.” This is available if the Florida probate estate assets consist solely of exempt property (as defined by law and the Florida Constitution) and non-exempt personal property, the value of which does not exceed the combined total of up to $6,000 in funeral expenses, plus the amount of all reasonable and necessary medical and hospital expenses incurred in the last 60 days of the last illness.

If the decedent owned property in Florida, either personal property or real property, but lived in another state at the time of death, and a formal probate administration is taking place in the state of residence, it may be necessary to administer an “ancillary estate” in the probate court in Florida. Your Florida probate lawyer can provide you with legal advice about the necessity and procedures for an ancillary probate.

If the decedent was not a Florida resident at the time of death, an alternate procedure may be used to admit the last will and testament to record in Florida. This procedure is used to establish title to Florida real property. When admitted to record in any Florida county where the real estate is located, the “foreign will” serves to pass title to the real estate as if the last will and testament had been admitted to probate court. This procedure is available only if either two years have passed from the decedent’s death or the domiciliary personal representative has been discharged and there has been no probate estate administration in Florida. (Back to Florida Probate FAQ)

21. WHAT IF THERE IS A REVOCABLE LIVING TRUST?

What is a revocable living trust?

If the decedent created a revocable living trust , in certain circumstances, the trustee may be required to pay expenses of Florida probate administration of the decedent’s probate estate and enforceable claims of the decedent’s creditors. A Florida probate lawyer can assist you in determining whether there are expenses that must be paid by the estate. Even if there are no expenses that must be paid by the Trust estate at death, the trustee is required to file a “notice of trust” with the Florida probate court where the decedent lived, or owned property, giving information concerning the settlor and trustee. (Back to Florida Probate FAQ)

If you need a probate lawyer in Florida to represent you in the trust administration for a revocable living trust, please call us at (904) 448-1969, toll free at 866-510-9099, or email us at Info@TheFloridaProbateLawyer.com.

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This material represents general legal information about Florida probate law. Since the Florida probate law is continually changing, some provisions may be out of date. It is always best to consult an experienced Florida probate lawyer or estate attorney about your legal rights and responsibilities regarding your particular Florida probate case.

If you need an experienced Florida probate lawyer or attorney to assist you with a Florida probate administration, please contact The Florida Probate Lawyer, PLLC, toll free at 866-510-9099 or email us at Info@TheFloridaProbateLawyer.com.