IV Who Handles, How the Process Works and What is the Cost?
The appropriate court in the State and County where the deceased permanently resided at the time of his or her death is usually the court where the probate is processed referred to by several different names. However, it’s most common for it to be referred to simply as “probate court”.
Manatee county Florida (2021) is: Probate and Guardianship, PO Box 25400, Bradenton, Fl. 34206. Phone: 941 741-4025. Supervisor: Nikki Monfils
- First things first, pursuant to Florida Statute 732.901: The WILL must be filed within ten (10) days after a person’s death with the Probate Department of the County Clerk of the Circuit Office. While an attorney is not necessary to file the will, it is suggested to contact one before filing to determine whether Probate proceedings will be necessary.
- Florida, the circuit court has exclusive original jurisdiction of proceedings, including settlement and granting of “Letters Testamentary”.
- Supervises the Probate Estate
- Has Authority and grants/decline approvals
- Confirmations Hearing order and oversees –see Glossary
- Overbid: -see Glossary
- A notice of the Petition for Probate is published in a local newspaper.
- After the certification or appointment of the personal representative is official, they then file their formal petition with the court to probate the estate.
- Generally for a legally specified time period (3 months is typical) from the date of the public notification of the petition for probate, creditors against the estate are allowed to file their claims.
- Identify, gather and secure the assets of the estate to ultimately distribute them in accordance with the will or court directives.
- Maintain assets safely, properly and in good condition during this period as well as collecting any income (rents, residuals, interest payments, etc.) that is due to the Estate, maintain proper insurance coverage; protecting the assets from theft or damage.
- The PR may also (if permitted or desired) liquidate some of the hard assets such as cars, real estate, etc. This is often done to provide the cash required to compensate creditors.
- When the formal credit claims period has expired and all assets have been collected; property that needed to be sold has been sold; and assuming no problems have arisen such as a contesting of the will by any of the heirs or other contested claims against the estate, the personal representative will usually file their final petition with the probate court to allow a complete distribution of all remaining assets to the heirs and beneficiaries.
- Assuming the court approves this petition, the PR then distributes the assets as instructed in the will and detailed by the approved petition, and/or as required by law or the courts if there was no will.
Court Costs, (FS 28.241) Manatee County sample (2021):
- Opening an estate; $231.00
- Summary Administration $235.00 to $400.00 depending on size
- Formal Administration $400.00
- Caveat / Notice of Trust $ 41.00
- Personal Property $231.00
- Reopening case $ 50.00