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Estate Planning: Wills, Trusts, and Nuptial Agreements

Probate Administration

Nursing Home Neglect, Medical Malpractice, Wrongful Death

The Ultimate Guide To Florida Probate

General Probate Timeline : Formal Administration - Testate (with a will)


start the probate process by putting the original will on deposit

The individual in possession of the deceased's Last Will and Testament must submit it to the Florida Probate Court in the county of the deceased's residence within 10 days of becoming aware of their passing. This action, coupled with a petition for estate administration, initiates the probate proceedings.


Designate a Personal Representative & Issue Letters of Administration


The probate court will grant Letters of Administration to the appointed personal representative (also referred to as the executor) responsible for managing the estate, typically within 1 to 4 weeks. The personal representative is often the an individual designated in the Will.

Issue and Distribute the Notice of Administration or Other Formal Notice to the Heirs and beneficiaries

Both the beneficiaries listed in the Will and any potential heirs, as per Florida's intestate laws, must be notified that estate administration is underway by the personal representative. Upon receiving this notification, beneficiaries and other relevant parties have either 20 days or 3 months to raise objections regarding the Will, the appointment of the personal representative, or other procedural aspects of estate administration, depending upon the type and timing of notice that is served.


Notice to Creditors Must be Served & Published


The personal representative and their attorney must identify and notify the deceased's creditors of their passing and provide notice to creditors of the opening of the estate during the estate claims period. A notice to creditors must also be published for once a week for two weeks consecutively to inform any unknown creditors. Upon receiving notice, Florida probate rules state that creditors must file their claims against the estate no later than 30 days after service of notice or 3 months after the publication of notice, whichever is later.

Proof of Death Must be Provided

In a formal administration, a certified death certificate is filed in the case and is recorded in the public records of each county where the deceased owned real estate.


Compiled Detailed Inventory of Assets & Respond to Creditor Claims


The personal representative is required to put together an inventory of the estate’s assets and provide valuations. This inventory, describing the assets and their values, must be filed with the court and copies provided to all beneficiaries. If creditors assert claims within the three-month period following publication, the personal representative must address them within 30 days by either settling the debts or filing objections to them. If an objection is filed, creditors have 30 days to initiate independent legal proceedings against the estate; otherwise the claim is forfeited. If the estate pays the claim, the creditor files a satisfaction which allows the estate to proceed.

Surviving Spouse's Election Rights

Surviving spouses are afforded specific privileges under Florida probate law concerning their homestead, designated exempt assets, and an elective share of a portion of the deceased's entire estate, if such elective share is more than what was provided for them in the Will. Typically, spouses are required to decide whether to make these elections within the initial six months of the probate proceedings.


Asset Distribution

After settling all outstanding claims against the estate, the personal representative is authorized to distribute the remaining assets in accordance with the instructions specified in the Will, or if there is no Will, then according to the intestate laws. Often a final accounting and a petition for discharge with a distribution plan is filed and served on all beneficiaries who have an opportunity to either object or consent. Beneficiaries who are in agreement can receive an informal accounting and sign a full waiver which saves some fees and costs. Upon receipt of their full share, a beneficiary is expected to sign a receipt. Unless the estate is required to file a federal estate tax return, the court expects these estate closing documents to be filed within one year after the Letters of Administration were issued.


Estate Finalization

Once all expense have been paid and the assets have been distributed, the attorney for the personal representative submits a proposed order of discharge for the to sign which closes the estate.

Get help with your family's estate administration

Estate Administration can often be a stressful endeavor that requires the expertise of an experienced attorney to navigate. Attorney Lauren Richardson has years of experience in Florida probate and is dedicated to ensuring your loved one's wishes are honored and executed with care. Contact us now at (352) 204-2224 or click the button below to send us a message and get help today!

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