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Florida Probate Rules

If you are looking for guidance on the rules that govern probate cases, Chapter 731 through Chapter 735 of the Florida Statutes are the Florida Probate Code. The rules that govern probate proceedings in Florida are located in the Florida Probate Rules, Part I and Part II, Rules 5.010 – 5.530.

Probate Rules in Florida

The Probate Rules are extremely important when it comes to Florida law regarding estates, wills, and even guardianships. The Rules may seem boring or less relevant, like those explaining how to serve the court-filed documents, but they all have a necessary purpose. The Rules discuss how discovery matters are handled when someone contests or challenges a Florida will, and it explains how an estate is to be administered.

These rules grant significant authority to a probate court judge and allow him or her to appoint a personal representative of an estate, or even an estate curator.

There are over 100 rules in total, and these rules work in tandem with the relevant Florida statutes that cover wills, probate matters, and guardianships. Here are some of the more pertinent examples you’ll find covered in the Florida Probate Rules:

  • Florida Probate Rule 5.200: Discusses exactly what needs to be addressed in the petition for administration.
  • Florida Probate Rule 5.340: This rule covers estate inventory while 5.341 explains what your rights are regarding information about the estate and the administration.
  • Florida Probate Rules 5.342 and 5.3425: These rules discuss safe deposit boxes and determining what the contents are.

Guardianships

The Florida Probate Rules are not just about the Florida estate probate process and how to administer the estate. They also spell out what the process is for conducting guardianships for minors and incapacitated adults. It grants the judge the right to appoint a guardian ad litem or administrator ad litem.

Sometimes there may be a guardianship dispute, which is also referred to as a contested guardianship. This can result when other people, including family members, try to control someone and their property.

If you have a family member who is unable to care for their business affairs or personal needs, Florida Probate Rule 5.560 discusses a petition for appointment of a guardian. This is typically done with a petition to determine incapacity, which is covered under Florida Probate Rule 5.550.

Types of Probate Administration

You might assume that because the decedent’s estate is small, there is no need to go through a probate in the first place. There are different types of probate: summary administration and formal administration. Summary administration is reserved for smaller estates of certain sizes and requirements, but they are still covered under the Florida Probate Code and the related probate rules.

Retaining a Florida Probate Attorney

If you have a loved one who passed away, you might be inclined to handle the probate on your own. Probate can be a complex and frustrating process, especially if someone else in your family is challenging or contesting the will. It’s best to speak with a skilled Florida probate attorney to learn what options are available and guide you through the process. Contact the Law Offices of Larry E. Bray, P.A. at 561-571-8970 to schedule a consultation.

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