Probate Process 

Probate is the legal process that occurs after a person dies leaving personal and real property.  This probate process is required for the court to authorize the transfer of this property to the heirs of the estate if there is a will.  However, probate can occur with or without the existence of a will.   If there is a will, then the court will first admit the will to probate.   Once the will has been admitted, then the court appoints a personal representative to administer the estate.   Florida probate law requires that every personal representative be represented by a licensed Florida attorney unless the personal representative is the sole interested person in the estate.  

    Our law office charges per hour to represent the personal representative with the probate process.  The Florida Statutes state that legal fees of three percent (3%) of the estate with a value of no more than one million is reasonable.   However, just like our law office, most probate attorneys charge per hour for their services and not based on a percentage of the value of the estate.


Once the personal representative has been appointed by the probate court, his or her initial duties can include the following tasks:  

  • Make or confirm funeral arrangements
  • Secure the decedent’s residence (change the locks if decedent lived alone)
  • Prepare an inventory of decedent’s property
  • Obtain decedent’s personal belongings if in a nursing home or hospital
  • Notify the landlord of decedent’s death if he or she lived alone
  • Notify credit card companies of decedent’s death
  • Cancel any lease agreements (i.e., automobile)
  • Locate any life insurance policies
  • Locate all asset and debt information
  • Locate title to motor vehicles or boats
  • Locate the names and contact information for next of kin
  • Contact the Social Security Office
  • Close all bank accounts and open them under the name of the personal representative on behalf of the decedent’s estate
  • Locate safe-deposit box


We represent individuals with the following probate processes:

  • Formal Estate Administration
  • Summary Probate Administration
  • Ancillary Probate Administration
  • Will or Trust contest
  • Probate litigation



Formal Estate Administration:


The formal estate administration of the decedent takes several months to complete as there are several tasks that must be completed before the personal representative can be discharged and the estate closed.   The probate attorney will explain these steps to you during the initial consultation.  



Summary Administration:


Summary administration is available in the following scenarios:

  • The value of the decedent’s probate property does not exceed $75,000.   This amount does not include exempt property of the Estate like homestead real property; 
  • If the decent has been dead for more than two years

Summary administration starts with the filing of a petition for summary administration with the probate court.   The petition must include the list of the decedent’s property and assets, the value of each property, and the name of each beneficiary who is to receive each asset.


If the petition is approved by the Court, an order of summary administration will be entered.  This order releases the decedent’s property to the beneficiaries.  A personal representative is not required to serve for this process and the process can take about two months to be completed.  


It is recommended that the following documents be brought to the initial meeting with the attorney:

  • Original Last Will or Trust document
  • Death certificate 
  • Deeds to all real property
  • Statements from banks, brokerage accounts
  • Title to vehicles
  • Life insurance policies
  • Funeral bills
  • All of the decedent’s bills Tax returns for the last three years    

Please contact our office with one of our attorneys.

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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt for viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. TypeCopyright © JUAN MENDOZA. All rights reserved.

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