Florida Probate Laws [2024 Updated] – All You Need to Know

Apr 14, 2024

Once you have established a valid last will and testament, it is important that you have legal professionals validate the terms of said will. This validation will occur when you go to Florida probate court.

Probate is the legal act of verifying a last will and testament after its creator has passed. It is important and necessary to ensure the deceased’s assets are transferred appropriately and according to their wishes. While Florida probate laws can become complex, they are needed to ensure a peaceful estate transition.

How Does the Probate Process Work in Florida?

The probate process in Florida involves a variety of important steps, such as verifying the location of the deceased’s assets, the total numeric value of an estate, ensuring all outstanding debts are paid in full, and passing control of the estate over to assigned beneficiaries. All of these steps go much smoother with the help of an experienced probate lawyer who can provide legal assistance when needed.

The probate process in Florida can become difficult depending on the size of the estate and how well-prepared the estate plan is. Below are the general steps of how the probate process works in Florida.

  1. Identifying the Assets: The first step in the probate process is identifying all assets. These assets could include their home, any vehicles, personal property, jewelry, or personal bank accounts that do not specify a beneficiary.
    Probate court does not consider any jointly owned property or assets, as they are not solely their property.
  2. Filing Through the Court: At this point, the personal representative will have their probate attorney file a petition with the probate court. Once the petition has been filed, all of the legal heirs and beneficiaries of the will shall be formally notified of the opening of the estate. The court will then issue the representative Letters of Administration, which grants the petition and designates that representative as the one who can access the estate.
  3. Notifying Creditors: Once the deceased’s estate is open and being considered in probate court, any outstanding debts that the deceased owed to any creditors can now be paid out. Any creditors wishing to seek compensation from the deceased’s estate will have approximately three months from the initial notice to file any claims for outstanding debt repayment.
  4. Taking Inventory: Before completing probate, it is important to take an accurate inventory of the entire estate by calculating its total net worth. Total assets may include any real estate holdings, vehicle titles, bank accounts, any valuable property, and significant stocks. The probate attorney can file the inventory list with the court once it is tallied up.
  5. Paying Valid Debts: Using any available cash from the estate’s account, the personal representative will pay out any valid outstanding debts that remain. The representative retains the right to contest any claims that are made that may not be considered valid by probate court. These include any claims made after the three-month period.
  6. Distribute Assets: Once all other steps are complete, the remaining assets will be passed on to the beneficiaries named in the will. If there is no will, the assets will be distributed as Florida state law intends. Anything not specifically designated in the will shall likely be sold, and the proceeds will be distributed amongst the beneficiaries.


Q: How Much Does an Estate Have to Be Worth to Go to Probate in Florida?

A: Under Florida law, an estate has to be worth at least $75,000 in order to go to probate court. If the estate is worth anything less than $75,000 or if the person whose estate is being distributed has been deceased for over two years, then the estate may qualify for a more simplified version of probate court called “summary administration.” Summary administration may not be the way to go, especially if there are multiple creditors waiting to be paid out.

Q: Is Probate Required in Florida if There Is a Will?

A: In Florida, most wills are required to go through probate in order to transfer ownership of significant assets to the proper parties and beneficiaries. If there was no will, the estate in question may still need to go through probate court to ensure the proper parties receive ownership of the deceased’s assets. Probate validates the will and makes sure everything goes to the right people. It can be quite useful in downsizing an estate into a more manageable size.

Q: What Assets Go Through Probate in Florida?

A: Any assets that the deceased solely owned are considered valid assets for probate court in Florida. This can include real estate, vehicles, jewelry, stocks and bonds, bank accounts, and any additional valued assets that had no owner but the deceased. Certain revocable trusts and jointly-owned assets will not be considered valid for probate court, among other items and financials deemed unfit by the court.

Q: What Is the 10-Day Rule for Probate in Florida?

A: Under Florida state law, you will have up to ten days from the date of the estate owner’s death to submit the will to probate court. At that point, the court will confirm the validity of the will, and you can file a petition to start the probate process. If you fail to submit the will within the ten-day period, you open yourself up to potential lawsuits from the beneficiaries or anybody who felt financially damaged by the delay.

Reach Out to an Experienced Florida Probate Lawyer Today

Going to probate court can be complicated. Having an experienced probate lawyer on your side can make all the difference. It is important to validate the deceased’s legal wishes and ensure that their property is divided in the way they requested.

The Law Office of Douglas A. Oberdorfer, P.A. can help you navigate the uncharted waters of probate court and act as an advocate for you during a time that may be particularly stressful and confusing for you. Contact us to schedule a consultation and discuss Florida probate today.

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