Do Wills Have to be Probated in Florida? Understanding the Probate Process: What You Need to Know

Navigating the intricacies of wills and probate can be quite perplexing, especially in a state like Florida with its unique rules. Did you know that probate is necessary even when there’s a valid will? This blog post aims to provide clear explanations, dispelling any confusion around whether wills must be probated in Florida and helping you understand the entire process better.

Ready for an enlightening journey into Florida’s laws on wills and probate? Stay tuned!

Key Takeaways

  • Probate is necessary in Florida, even if there is a valid will. The court must review and admit the will to ensure its validity.
  • There are three types of probate in Florida: formal administration, simplified probate, and disposition without administration. The type of probate depends on the size and complexity of the estate.
  • Having a valid will can help simplify the probate specifying how assets should be distributed and reducing disputes among family members.
  • Understanding the probate process and following necessary steps can ensure a smooth transfer of assets after someone passes away in Florida.

Understanding Probate in Florida

Probate in Florida refers to the legal process through which a deceased person’s assets are distributed and their debts are settled.

What is probate?

Probate is a legal process. It happens after someone dies. If the person has left property or debts, probate helps to deal with these things. In Florida, this process is ruled by law.

Probate can be required even if there’s a will that says who gets what. The court must say that the will is valid before it can be used. This part of probate is called “admitting the will“.

The court also checks that all debts are paid and any left-over money or property goes to the right people.

Types of probate in Florida

There are three types of probate in Florida: formal administration, simplified probate, and disposition without administration.

Formal administration is the most common type of probate. It is used when the estate has a value over $75,000 or if there are complex issues involved. This process involves appointing a personal representative to handle the affairs of the estate.

Simplified probate, on the other hand, is for smaller estates with a value less than $75,000. This process allows for a quicker and less expensive probate procedure.

Formal administration

In Florida, formal administration is one type of probate process that may be necessary when someone passes away. This process involves the court appointing a personal representative to handle the deceased person’s estate.

The personal representative has important responsibilities, such as gathering and inventorying assets, paying debts and taxes, and distributing remaining assets to beneficiaries according to the will or state law.

Formal administration can take several months or even years to complete depending on the complexity of the estate. It is important to follow all required steps and deadlines in order for the probate process to go smoothly.

Simplified probate

In Florida, there is a simplified probate process that can be used when the estate meets certain requirements. This process is designed to be quicker and less expensive than formal probate administration.

To qualify for simplified probate, the value of the entire estate must be less than $75,000, excluding exempt property such as homestead property. Additionally, all beneficiaries named in the will must agree to use this process.

With simplified probate, the court’s involvement is minimal and the personal representative has more authority to distribute assets without court approval. It can be a helpful option for smaller estates with uncomplicated distributions.

Disposition without administration

Disposition without administration is a simplified way of transferring certain assets after someone passes away in Florida. This process allows for the distribution of property without having to go through formal probate.

To qualify, the total value of the decedent’s probate assets must be less than $75,000 and must not include real estate. The person entitled to receive the assets can file an affidavit with the court, stating that they are entitled to inherit and assuming responsibility for any debts or claims against the estate.

Disposition without administration can be a quicker and less expensive alternative to formal probate for eligible estates.

Is Probate Required for Wills in Florida?

Probate is required for wills in Florida under certain circumstances, such as when the decedent owned assets solely in their name at the time of their death.

Circumstances where a will must be probated

Probate is necessary in Florida for a will to be legally recognized. It doesn’t matter if the person who passed away had a valid will – it still needs to go through probate. This means that when someone dies with a will, the court must admit and review the will to make sure it’s valid.

The original will must be filed within 10 days of their death. If there is no will, probate may still be needed to transfer ownership of assets. In Florida, all assets owned by the deceased are subject to probate, except for certain properties.

So regardless of the circumstances, a will must generally go through probate in order for its instructions to be followed and carried out properly.

Benefits of having a will in avoiding probate

Having a will can provide several benefits when it comes to avoiding probate in Florida. First, a valid will allows you to specify how your assets should be distributed after your death, which can help avoid disputes among family members and reduce the chances of lengthy probate proceedings.

Second, by utilizing non-probate assets such as joint accounts or living trusts, you can ensure that certain properties pass directly to beneficiaries without going through probate.

This can help save time and money for your loved ones. Additionally, having a will allows you to appoint an executor who will oversee the distribution of your assets according to your wishes, making the process more efficient.

The Florida Probate Process

The Florida probate process involves several steps that must be followed in order to administer a decedent’s estate, including submitting the will to the court, determining assets and debts, and addressing any questions or disputes that may arise during probate proceedings.

Steps involved in probate

The probate process in Florida involves several important steps. First, the original will of the deceased must be located and filed with the probate court. Then, an executor or personal representative is appointed to handle the administration of the estate.

The executor’s responsibilities include identifying and valuing all assets owned by the deceased, paying any outstanding debts or taxes, and distributing assets to beneficiaries according to the terms of the will.

Throughout this process, it is important for the executor to keep accurate records and communicate with all interested parties. Finally, once all debts have been paid and assets have been distributed, a final accounting is prepared and presented to the court for approval.

It’s worth noting that while these are general steps involved in probate, each case may vary depending on individual circumstances and complexity. It’s essential to consult with a qualified probate attorney who can guide you through this process based on your specific situation.

Timeline for probate in Florida

The probate process in Florida follows a specific timeline to ensure an orderly transfer of assets. Once the deceased’s will is filed with the court within 10 days of their death, the probate process begins.

The length of time it takes to complete probate can vary depending on several factors, including the complexity of the estate and any potential disputes that may arise. Generally, formal administration can take anywhere from six months to a year or more, while simplified probate can be completed in a matter of weeks or months.

It’s important to adhere to these timelines and follow all necessary procedures to avoid delays or complications in the probate process.

Common questions about probate

Many people have questions about the probate process in Florida. One common question is whether probate is necessary if there is a valid will. The answer is yes, probate is still required even if there is a will.

Another question that often comes up is what happens if the original will cannot be located. According to Florida law, if the original will cannot be found, it is presumed to have been destroyed.

Additionally, people may wonder if all assets are subject to probate in Florida. The general rule is that all assets owned by the deceased are subject to probate, except for certain exemptions based on specific circumstances.

Simplifying the Probate Process

Simplify the probate process by ensuring you have a valid will, utilizing non-probate assets, and avoiding disputes in probate court.

Having a valid will

If you have a valid will in Florida, it can help simplify the probate process. When someone dies and has a will, the court must “admit the will” to probate. This means that the judge officially recognizes the will as valid and allows for its execution.

By having a valid will, you ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes and lessen the chances of disputes among family members. It is important to file your original will with the court within 10 days of your death so that it can be properly probated according to Florida law.

Utilizing non-probate assets

Non-probate assets can be used to simplify the probate process. These are assets that are not subject to probate and can pass directly to beneficiaries without court involvement. Examples of non-probate assets include joint tenancy property, payable-on-death (POD) bank accounts, life insurance proceeds with designated beneficiaries, and retirement accounts with named beneficiaries.

By designating beneficiaries for these assets, individuals can ensure a smoother transfer of ownership after their passing and potentially avoid the time-consuming and costly probate process.

This allows beneficiaries to receive their inheritances more quickly and efficiently.

Avoiding disputes in probate court

To avoid disputes in probate court, it is important to have a clear and valid will. By properly documenting your wishes and ensuring that your will meets all the legal requirements in Florida, you can help prevent disagreements among beneficiaries and minimize the chances of a probate dispute.

It is also crucial to communicate openly with your loved ones about your estate planning decisions and involve them in the process when appropriate. Taking these steps can go a long way in preventing conflicts during the probate process and ensuring a smoother distribution of assets after your passing.


In conclusion, probate is usually required for wills in Florida. Even if you have a valid will, it must be submitted to the court for probate within 10 days of the decedent’s death.

Failing to comply with these requirements can lead to consequences. It’s important to understand the probate process and follow the necessary steps to ensure a smooth transfer of assets after someone passes away.


1. Do wills have to be probated in Florida?

Yes, following a person’s death, the Last Will and Testament must be filed with the local court in Florida as per the Florida probate rules.

2. What does admitting a will to probate mean?

Admitting a Will to probate means submitting the Will to the court after decedent’s death for validity proof according to Florida laws on probating a Will.

3. How do I check if my will is valid in Florida?

The validity of a Will in Florida is confirmed when it meets all requirements for probating a Will under state laws, like having witnesses sign it.

4. Can I avoid Probate in Florida?

Trust and estate planning methods such as creating an intestate can help you bypass Summary Probate Administration In Florida but assets involved need not have debts attached.

5. What happens with assets and debts during probates?

Estate assets get sold off while debts are paid off from these sales during probation.

Estate Attorney
Author: Estate Attorney

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