No. It is not necessary to have an attorney to file the will with the Clerk of the Circuit Court. However, you may want to consult with an attorney before filing so that he or she may determine whether probate proceedings will be necessary.
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Probate is a legal process through which the assets of a deceased person are properly distributed to the heirs or beneficiaries under a will. The Court oversees the estate to make sure debts are paid and proper distribution is made.
A will is a document executed by a person which disposes of his/her property after his/her death. It generally names a personal representative to administer the estate. In Martin County, after the death of the person, the custodian of the will must deposit the will with the Clerk of the Circuit Court, within ten days after receiving information that the person is deceased.
The state will distribute the property in accordance with Florida law.
It may be necessary for an attorney to petition the Court to appoint a personal representative to administer the estate.
Probate proceedings are initiated with the filing of a Petition by the person asking to be appointed a personal representative. The petition is normally prepared by an attorney. The appointed person will be responsible for the estate until all bills are paid and the balance of the estate is distributed to the rightful beneficiaries.
There are three basic types of proceedings for administering the decedent's estate.
This type of proceeding is used when there are considerable assets and it is necessary to appoint a representative to act on behalf of the estate. The capacity in which the representative will act is determined by the Court at the time of appointment. Letters of administration will be issued to the representative so that he/she may complete the administration of the estate.
Summary administration may be administered when the value of the entire estate subject to administration does not exceed $75,000.
The disposition is filed to request the release of the assets of the deceased, to the person who paid the final expenses, such as funeral bills, medical bills for the last 60 days, et cetera. This procedure may be accomplished with the filing of a formal petition. The forms required to file the disposition are available from the Clerk of the Circuit Court in the Probate Court Records Division.
Refer to the current Schedule of Service Charges, available in any Clerk's Office, for the current filing fee.
The following must be provided:
The Court will enter an Order whether allowing or disallowing the release of the assets. The original Order is then turned over to the petitioner.