The Probate Division maintains the files on probate estates, wills and trusts. Probating an estate is the legal process provided for by Florida Law, which determines the value of a deceased persons property and its distribution to heirs. Probate is necessary whenever a deceased person leaves titled assets in their name alone. A party then files a petition for probate, which allows distribution of the decedent's assets.
My husband just died, do I have to bring his will?
Yes. If depositing a will with the Clerk's Office, it must be done within ten (10) days of receiving notice that the testator has passed away and must be accompanied by the delivery form. There is no fee to file a will.
What happens if a person dies and has left no will?
A Small Estate Letter (also known as a Disposition of Personal Property Without Administration) may be filed without the assistance of an attorney. These dispositions are filed when the amount of assets do not exceed $5,000.00. The Clerk assists the public and court by processing the forms, verifying the assets of the decedent and preparing the Order allowing for distribution. If the deceased has not prepared a will and is not survived by anyone, the property shall escheat to the State.
What are the requirements for a small estate letter?
- Decedent must have been a resident of Hernando County;
- Death certificate(s) for each person on account must accompany the affidavit;
- Original last will and testament must be provided if one is involved;
- Last bank statement or copy of bonds or checks with the name and address for the recipient of the letter and the amount and account numbers listed on the correspondence;
- Paid funeral bill;
- Valid driver's license or state identification card;
- a filing fee; and
- Total assets cannot be more than $5,000 and cannot be real property.
What is summary administration?
Summary administration is an alternate process for transferring title in small estates without going through all of the normal steps of probate.
If someone dies owing me money, can I file a claim against his estate?
Yes. If you have a claim on a decedent's estate, complete a Statement of Claim form and submit to the Clerk's Office. The form must be submitted after the Notice of Administration is published and before the 90 day time period has expired.
Guardianships are filed for both minors and incapacitated persons, however, all Guardianship matters in the State of Florida require an attorney (Rule 5.030). An individual, through their attorney, may file for a guardian to be appointed for an adult person when they believe that person is not mentally or physically capable of taking care of himself/herself. A committee is appointed to evaluate the person and make their report to the court. Guardians can be appointed as guardian of the person only, property only or person and property.
Guardianships are also filed for minors when the minor child has inherited money or property in excess of $15,000.00 from a deceased person, or received money from a settlement in excess of $15,000.00. In this case, a guardian of the property is all that is needed if the minor child's parents are living. If a minor child's parents are deceased or unable to be appointed guardian, he/she may need a guardian of the person and property.
If you have further questions, please contact our office at (352)540-6366 or visit us in Room 247. If you have questions about professional guardians, please visit: http://elderaffairs.state.fl.us/doea/spgo_professional.php.
If you are interested in becoming a guardian, please contact the Pasco/Hernando County Guardianship Program, Inc. at (352)340-4349.