Palm Beach County Probate Attorney
A Palm Beach County Probate is required for someone who died who was a resident of Palm Beach County, Florida. Probate is the legal term for a court supervised administration of someone’s estate. In other words, probate is the legal proceedings that happen with your property after you die.
Probate typically starts, or is opened, by filing a petition of administration along with the decedent’s last will and testament. Florida refers to the person who has possession of the last will and testament as the “custodian,” and the custodian is required to file it with the clerk of the Florida county where the person lived before they passed away. For example, someone who lived in Boca Raton will need to file with Palm Beach County.
In the event the person died without a will, it’s known as intestate and there would be no will to file with the county clerk’s office. In this case, you can start probate, or open up the estate, by filing the petition for administration and note that there is no last will and testament.
What is the Petition for Administration?
Essentially, the petition for administration is the first document filed that opens up probate on a Florida estate. The petition for administration will include basic facts about the Florida resident who recently died. This information includes their full name, aliases, redacted social security number, names and addresses of other family members, and an estimate of the Florida estate’s value. There will be an applicable filing fee that needs to be paid as well. This can be paid at any clerk’s office in a Palm Beach County courthouse.
Palm Beach County Courthouse Locations
There are three courthouses in Palm Beach County. These are:
- North County which is located on PGA Blvd in Palm Beach Gardens
- Downtown which is located on N. Dixie Hwy in West Palm Beach
- South County which is located on Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach
Each courthouse in Palm Beach County has probate judges who can hear probates, estate administrations, as well as other cases and lawsuits. This is the probate division of the county courthouse.
The clerk’s office assigns a case number for all new lawsuits as well as a probate. You will see if referenced on every court document and it should be on every subsequent document you need to file with the court. The number will have two capital letters that signify which court it’s in and what judge will be in charge of your probate administration. Judges are assigned randomly so there is no way to choose one you prefer.
Palm Beach County is located in the 15th Judicial District, so you’ll also see references to that on filed court documents, including your initial petition for administration.
The Probate Administration Process in Palm Beach County
The actual process of probate administration once an estate is opened up can be complex, especially if someone else in the family disagrees with the will and plans to fight it in court. Regardless of whether your probate estate is simple or become complex, it’s important to retain a skilled Palm Beach County probate attorney. At the Law Offices of Larry E. Bray, P.A. we’ve been helping clients in Palm Beach County and throughout Florida for over 30 years. Contact our West Palm Beach office at 561-571-8970 to schedule a consultation.