Frequently Asked Questions about Probate in Florida
What is probate in Orlando?
Probate is a court procedure after the death of a person to determine the person’s lawful heirs, appoint a personal representative to administer estate, notify possible creditors, assure that lawful debts are paid, and that property is distributed to proper persons.
Where is probate filed?
Probate is filed in circuit court of the county and state where the decedent was domiciled. If the decedent had no domicile in Florida, then it can be filed in any county where the decedent owned property.
Do I need a lawyer for Florida probate?
Yes, in almost all cases. Except for disposition without administration (very small estates) and those estates in which the executor (personal representative) is the sole beneficiary, Florida law requires the assistance of an attorney. Even when an attorney is not required, formal administration has many technical rules that can be very frustrating for the non-lawyer.
What is exempt property?
If a decedent was domiciled in Florida at time of death, the surviving spouse (or if none, the decedent’s children) can have the following property designated as exempt from creditor’s claims, excluding perfected security interests: (1) $20,000 worth of household furniture, furnishings, and appliances in the decedent’s usual abode; (2) Two motor vehicles held in the decedent’s name and regularly used by the decedent and immediate family as personal automobiles; (3) Qualified tuition programs under Sec. 529 of IRS code; (4) Certain death benefits for teachers and school administrators under Florida Statute 112.1915. There is a time limit in which to claim exempt property.
What is an elective share?The surviving spouse of a decedent who was domiciled in Florida at time of death has the right to claim a share of the elective estate equal to 30 percent. There are time limits on when the surviving spouse must file to claim the elective share.
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