Files and maintains records relating to Probate and Guardianship matters.
The Probate & Guardianship division is responsible for maintaining records regarding Caveats, Estates
(Formal, Summary & Disposition of Personal Property), Guardianship, Wills and Trusts.
Caveat is a document filed with the Clerk's office by an individual or entity with interest in the
estate of a decedent as an heir, beneficiary or creditor. Filing a Caveat will ensure that when an estate is filed
the Clerk's office will issue a Notice to Caveater of the estate proceedings. The person or entity filing
the caveat then must file documents necessary to protect his interest in the matter.
If the Caveat is filed by a creditor a Statement of Claim
should be filed.
Formal Estate proceedings are initiated with the filing of a Petition, which is usually prepared
by an attorney. A representative is appointed to become responsible for gathering all estate assets, paying bills
and making distribution to the rightful heirs or beneficiaries.
This type of proceeding is used when it is necessary to appoint a representative to act on behalf of the
decedent's estate or the assets are so substantial that a Summary Administration will not suffice. The
capacity in which the representative will act is determined by the Court at the time
of appointment and letters of administration will be issued to the representative so that he/she may administer
the estate assets.
Summary Administration may be administered when the value of the entire estate subject to
administration does not exceed $75,000.
Disposition of Personal Property Without Administration - The disposition is filed to request release of assets
of the deceased to the person who paid the final expenses, such as funeral bills or medical bills for the
last 60 days. The Clerk can assist you with the filing of an
Application for Disposition of Personal Property Without Administration.
The criteria for this type of filing are strict, i.e.: the decedent's assets
can only be in the form of non-exempt personal property such as furniture and automobiles. The value of the
personal property cannot exceed the sum of the amount of funeral expenses and any necessary medical expenses
incurred during the last 60 days of illness.
A guardianship is a legal proceeding in the circuit court in which a guardian exercises the
legal rights of a minor or incapacitated person. Guardianships are established for various reasons: An adult
who lacks the ability to care for or to make decisions regarding his/her person or financial affairs; a minor
who has received an inheritance or person injury settlement; or a minor who is living with someone other than
a parent who will need to make decisions about schooling and health care.
A guardian can be an individual(s) or institution (like a bank) appointed by the court to guard over the person
only, property only, or both person and property. Persons who have been convicted of a felony cannot be appointed.
At the time of appointment the court will determine the guardian's powers to be limited or plenary to exercise
some or all rights of the minor or incapacitated person.
Every guardian should become familiar with the powers and duties of a guardian reflected in Section 744.361
of the Florida Statutes. A specific function of the guardian is to file initial and annual reports as outlined
in Florida Statutes 744.362 and 744.367.
In an effort to help guardian's to better understand specific time frames for filing the initial and annual reports, the Clerk has developed a Guardianship Report Scheduler.
A will is defined as a declaration by a person of how he or she desires their property to
be disposed of after his/her death. This document is revocable at anytime by the testator and it has no purpose
until the death of the testator does occur.
Within 10 days after receiving information of the testator's death, the custodian of a Will must deposit the
Will with the clerk of court having venue of the estate, Section 732.901 of the Florida Statutes. Upon deposit
the custodian must supply the decedent's date of death or last four digits of the testator's social security number.
Fees and Fines
|Summary Administration ($1,000.00 or less)
|Summary Administration (greater than $1,000.00)
| Trust Administration
| Caveat/Trust Notice
| Deposit Last Will and Testament of decedent (no probate)
|Opening of any estate of one document or more, including but not limited to petitions and orders to approve settlement of minor's claims, enter rooms and places, open a safe deposit box, for the determination of heirs, but not to include issuance of letters or order of summary
| Foreign Guardian to manage property
| Guardianship, person only
| Guardianship, property only or property and person
| Guardianship Inventory Audit Fees
| Guardianship Annual Accounting Report - Audit Fees
|$25,000.00 or less
|$25,000.01 - $100,000.00
|$100,000.01 - $500,000.00
| Guardianship, Veteran's Administration
| Personal Property, disposition w/o administration
| Petition for Determination for Incapacity and Restoration
| Petition/Order to admit foreign wills, authenticated copies, exemplified copies,
or transcript to record
| Professional Guardianship
| Summons Issuance, per summons
| Attorney Appearance Pro Hac Vice
| Reopen of Case
| Crossclaim, Counterclaim or Third Party Complaint