Probate is a court-supervised process of distributing assets to beneficiaries as directed in a will or according to the law if no will exist. The Florida Probate Code is found in the Chapters 731 through 735 of the Florida Statutes.

Probate and Will Services:

  • Drafting and Amending Wills
  • Probate Estates
  • Review Estate Plans and Trusts

Personal Representative

The personal representative is appointed in the will or by the Court and is placed in charge of the administration of the estate.
If the decedent left a valid will, the designated personal representative nominated in the will has preference to serve and the probate would be a “testate” proceeding.
If there is no will, the probate would be called an “intestate” proceeding and Florida laws sets forth rules for the distribution of the assets. Usually a close relative of the decedent who expects to inherit from the estate will file the petition for administration. The Personal Representative may be chosen by a majority of the beneficiaries.

Probate Process

Probate papers are filed with the Clerk of the Circuit Court in the probate division in the county where the decedent lived. A filing fee must be paid to the clerk to commence the probate administration.

Wills

A Will is a legal document stating how your money and property will be distributed after you die.
Wills are the most common way for people to state their preferences about how their estates should be handled after their deaths. A will enables you to choose how your property will be divided among your beneficiaries and give specific items of property to specific people. In the case of parents of minor children, a Will allows them to state a preference for the guardian and/or trustee of their minor children.

Simple Will

Most people require a simple will that provides for the outright distribution of assets for an uncomplicated estate to a few beneficiaries. This type of will is inexpensive and avoids headaches for the surviving family members.

Living Will

A Living Will is not a Will which addresses property or assets. A Living Will allows you to declare your wishes regarding medical treatment when you are placed on life support systems (breathing, Feeding, hydration etc.). Since you are unable to communicate under those conditions, this will sets out your instructions.
A Living Will tells doctors and hospitals how your treatment should be administered in the event you are terminally ill or you can not be restored to consciousness. The Living Will is often executed at the same time you make your Will.

Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney is a document which gives another party the legal authority to act on your behalf in order to manage your medical, legal and/or financial affairs. You may also place conditions on such powers.