Frequently Asked Questions about Probate in Florida

by David W Veliz on Jun. 08, 2017

Estate Wills & Probate Estate  Estate Planning 

Summary: Below are answers to some frequently asked questions by people looking for help with the probate process.

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.

Legal Articles Additional Disclaimer is not a law firm and does not offer legal advice. Content posted on is the sole responsibility of the person from whom such content originated and is not reviewed or commented on by The application of law to any set of facts is a highly specialized skill, practiced by lawyers and often dependent on jurisdiction. Content on the site of a legal nature may or may not be accurate for a particular state or jurisdiction and may largely depend on specific circumstances surrounding individual cases, which may or may not be consistent with your circumstances or may no longer be up-to-date to the extent that laws have changed since posting. Legal articles therefore are for review as general research and for use in helping to gauge a lawyer's expertise on a matter. If you are seeking specific legal advice, recommends that you contact a lawyer to review your specific issues. See's full Terms of Use for more information.