Probate Department FAQ's


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Frequently Asked Questions:

MY HUSBAND JUST DIED, DO I HAVE TO BRING HIS WILL?
F.S. 732.901 Production of Wills: The custodian of a Will must deposit the Will with the Clerk of the Court having venue of the estate of the decendent within 10 days after receiving information that the testator is dead.

HOW DO I AVOID PROBATE?
You must see your attorney and advise him of your financial situation in order to preserve your assets and have them distributed as you desire.

DOES THE STATE GET YOUR MONEY IF YOU DO NOT LEAVE A WILL?
F.S. 732.107 - Escheat: When a person leaving an estate dies without being survived by any person entitled to it, the property shall escheat to the State.

IF I HAVE A CLAIM ON A DECENDENT'S ESTATE, HOW DO I COLLECT?
Claim forms are available from the Clerk's Office and must be filed in duplicate within three (3) months from the date of the first publication of the Notice of Administration.

IS THERE A CHARGE TO FILE A CLAIM AGAINST AN ESTATE IN PROBATE?
No, there is no fee for filing a claim.

WHERE IS THE PROPER PLACE TO PROBATE AN ESTATE?
F. S. 733.101 Venue of Probate Proceedings: The venue of Probate of all Wills and granting of Letters shall be in the county in this state where the decendent had his domicile.

CAN I DEPOSIT MY WILL WITH THE COURT?
No, a will cannot be deposited with the Court before the death of the testator.

I AM A CREDITOR OF A PERSON WHO IS MISSING AND I UNDERSTAND A CONSERVATORSHIP HAS BEEN OPENED. CAN I FILE A CLAIM?
No. You should contact the Conservator of the property of this missing person. The same would apply to a Curatorship or Guardianship.

WHAT DO I NEED TO OBTAIN A COURT ORDER SO THAT THE MONEY IN A BANK ACCOUNT BELONGING TO MY DECEASED HUSBAND CAN BE RELEASED TO ME?
First of all, the account must be the decendent's entire estate. If you are the one who has paid the funeral bill, then we need a copy of the paid in full funeral bill, a copy of the death certificate and full information concerning the asset in question.  If you are not the one who has paid the funeral bill, then we need that person's consent in writing.

WHY DO I NEED A COPY OF THE PAID IN FULL FUNERAL BILL?
Because the purpose of the Small Estates department is to reimburse the person who has paid the funeral bill.

WHAT IS THE COST OF A CERTIFIED COPY?
Certified copies cost $1.00 per page for copying and $2.00 to certify the entire document. So, a certified copy of a one page document would be $3.00, a three page document $5.00 and so on.

CAN SMALL ESTATES RELEASE CARS?
No, as a general rule most cars are handled directly by the Motor Vehicle Department

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