Joe Miklas, Attorney

Probate Frequently asked questions

Why is Probate Necessary?

Probate is necessary to wind up the affairs a decedent leaves behind.  It ensures that all of the decedent's legal debts are properly paid.  Probate also serves to transfer assets from the decedent's individual name to the proper beneficiary.  Florida has had probate laws in force since becoming a state in 1845.  Florida law provides for all aspects of the probate process, but allows the decedent to make certain decisions by leaving a valid Will.

Where are Probate Papers Filed?

Probate papers are filed with the Clerk of the Circuit Court, usually for the county where the decedent lived.  A filing fee must be paid to the clerk to commence the probate administration.  The clerk assigns a file number and maintains a docket sheet which lists all papers filed with the clerk for that probate administration.

Who Supervises the Probate Administration?

A Circuit Court Judge presides over probate proceedings. In most cases, the Judge appoints the personal representative and issues "letters of administration," also referred to simply as "letters."  This document shows to the world the authority of the personal representative to act.  The Judge may hold hearings when necessary and resolves all questions raised during the administration of the estate by entering written directions called "orders."