Most probate documents are public records, however, inventories and accounts filed in probate estates are confidential and can only be seen by the personal representative, personal representative's attorney, or an interested party, as defined by Florida probate laws. Court records in the state of Florida are generally public records. This includes most Florida probate court records. Probate courts are the courts that handle the court-supervised process in which the estate of a person who has died is organized, assets are collected, bills and taxes are paid, and then proceeds are distributed to the beneficiaries of the will.
Now, “public” doesn't mean that your will is transmitted for everyone to see right away. Florida courts do not make wills or other probate records available directly over the Internet. But anyone who comes to the clerk's office and asks to see the will, or even make a copy, is free to do so. And if a third party legally obtains a copy of your will and decides to post it in a public forum, there is no law prohibiting such actions.
County judges and county clerks have maintained Florida probate records in each court. Since 1968, they have been under the jurisdiction of each county's circuit court clerk. Files may include wills, bonds, letters, petitions, order books, inventories, and agreements. While state law prohibits the court from making Florida probate files available on a public Internet site, you can appear in person in probate court, review the file, and order that the document be copied for a modest fee per page.
If a person dies leaving a valid will in Florida, this is one of the first documents filed in the estate probate proceeding. Succession is a court-supervised process that governs the distribution of the estate of a person who died. Undoubtedly, dealing with probate cases on a daily basis is one of the most demanding fields in legal practice. Probate is necessary when a court order is required to transfer or distribute the assets of the estate.
Once the will is filed with the probate court, it becomes a matter of public record and can be accessed by anyone interested in its contents. The court clerk will send you, either online or by mail, copies of any document that is not sealed by Florida law, probate rules, or a court order. Florida Power %26 Light Company, supra (the Supreme Court ruling prescribing procedural rules overrides a contrary provision of the Public Records Act); The Florida Bar, In Re Advisory Opinion Concerning the Applicability of Chapter 119, Florida Statutes, 398 So. This complex process generally requires an extensive list of documents, many of which can only be found in previous probate records.
The property of the spouses as tenants in its entirety is not a testamentary asset at the time of the death of the first spouse, but is automatically passed to the surviving spouse. If you need help navigating the probate process, the probate management attorneys at DeLoach, Hofstra %26 Cavonis can guide you through all the steps needed to close the estate. A life insurance policy payable to a specific beneficiary is not a testamentary asset, but a policy payable to the deceased's estate is a testamentary asset. The most effective way to pass on your estate while keeping the details of your holdings private is to eliminate the need for probate court participation.
Succession is a legal process through which the assets of a deceased person would be inventoried and distributed to pay creditors' claims against the estate. The will sets out who will inherit your property and usually also names a trusted person as executor, responsible for shepherding the estate through succession. .