Probate

The term "probate" generally refers to the process in which a decedent's assets, or estate, are administered by the Court.  There are several types of Probate proceedings which are all filed with our office.

Whether or not an estate is required to go through Probate proceedings depends on the assets that the decedent owned at the time of his or her death. For instance, if a decedent solely owned any real property at the time of his or her death, the estate would be required to go through Probate in order to transfer title of that real property to the decedent's heirs or beneficiaries. In this type of a situation, the beneficiaries or heirs would need to seek the assistance of an attorney as our office cannot give legal or procedural advice.

Formal Administration pursuant to Florida Statutes Chapter 733 

  • This type of proceeding is used when it is necessary to appoint a personal representative to act on behalf of the estate because there are considerable assets or other special circumstances. The capacity in which the representative will act is determined by the Court at the time of the appointment and letters of administration will be issued to the representative so that he/she may complete the administration of the estate.

Summary Administration Florida Statute 735.210 

  • Summary administration may be filed when the value of the entire estate does not exceed $75,000
  • Copy of paid funeral bill

Disposition of Personal Property without Administration 

There are times however, when an attorney is not required and our office can assist heirs and beneficiaries through a process referred to as a Disposition of Personal Property without Administration. This process is also sometimes referred to as a Small Estate Proceeding. Please refer to Florida Statute 735.301 to determine if you are eligible for this type of process. This form may not be used when real property is involved. If you are unsure as to whether this process applies to your situation, you may wish to contact an attorney.

The required forms and documentation for a Disposition of Personal Property without Administration are as follows:

  • Original Last Will and Testament of the decedent, if one exists or Affidavit of Surviving Heirs (On the Affidavit please be sure to include yourself where applicable)
  • Certified copy of the Death Certificate
  • Copy of the paid funeral bill
  • Copy of receipt from the funeral home showing who paid
  • Medical bills (paid and still owing)
  • Description and value of the asset(s) to be transferred
  • Copy of the bank statement, stock certificates, insurance checks, policy value information forms, or any related information regarding the assets that you are attempting to transfer with this procedure.

Once the required forms and documentation are in order, you may file them with the Clerk for processing and submission to the presiding Probate Judge.  If the judge approves the petition, the Order of Disposition of Personal Property without Administration will be entered by the probate court which directs that the assets in question be distributed as outlined in the petition.

The filing fee is due at the time the Petition is filed. There is also a charge for one certified copy of the Order of Disposition of Personal Property without Administration which is generally required by the institution holding the assets.

Wills

Pursuant to Florida Statute 732.901, the original Last Will and Testament of a deceased person must be deposited with the Clerk of the Circuit Court in the county of their residence within 10 days of the date of death.  The statute also states that the custodian of the will must supply the clerk with the date of death of the decedent upon deposit. The date of death is reflected on the death certificate, obituary notice, or a cover letter written by the depositor.  Please be advised that there is no charge or filing fee to deposit a will with our office.

Upon depositing a will with our office, the depositor will receive a receipt for the deposit of the will which includes the file number, date of filing, and the seal of the Citrus County Clerk of the Circuit Court. This receipt is something that should be placed with other important documents concerning the decedent.

In some instances, the company or office holding assets of the deceased will require a certified copy of the Last Will and Testament to transfer the assets in question. It is always a good idea to contact the company or office and inquire as to what is needed to complete the transfer. Our office can provide you with certified copies of the will at the rate of $1.00 per page, plus a $2.00 charge for certification.