Can You File Probate In Florida Without An Attorney?

Can You File Probate In Florida Without An Attorney?

In the presence or absence of a will, probate is required to transfer possession of the decedent’s assets to the beneficiaries of the decedent. Probate is required to conclude the decedent’s finances after death. If specific steps are appropriately taken throughout the management of the decedent’s estate, the decedent’s creditors will be compensated.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Starting A Probate Without A Lawyer To Advise And Represent You Legally Along The Way?

An Overview Of The Probate Process In Florida

In Coral Gables, FL, probating a will is a significant legal procedure. It is the procedure used to settle a decedent’s estate and distribute their assets in accordance with their intentions. Although the probate procedure might be complicated, it is crucial for those who want to safeguard their assets and guarantee that their final wishes are carried out when they pass away. A quick instruction to probate a will in Florida is provided here.

Assets & Properties In Florida Subject To Probate

A decedent’s property must go through the probate process in Florida. However, properties with specified beneficiaries or rights of survivorship are exempted from this rule. Death benefits from a life insurance policy, bank accounts having a “pay on death” provision, and retirement benefits are a few examples of assets that may have specified beneficiaries. Also, real estate properties with a deed stating the surviving spouse as co-owner is an example of a property with rights of survivorship.

Properties bought by husbands and wives usually carry rights of survivorship, even if that particular phrase is not on the deed. This kind of survivorship is known as “tenancy by the entirety.” It merely needs the title of the acquired properties. After the death of one spouse, they immediately become the sole owner of the surviving spouse.

According to the Florida Probate Rules of 2023, assets with no rights of survivorship or a specified beneficiary must go through probate to change ownership. Real estate properties, personal properties, bank accounts, and automobiles are the assets that often undergo probate. Financial institutions must be notified to find out whether a particular bank account is subject to probate.

Validating A Last Will In Florida

A will is a legal document that specifies who will inherit the assets of a deceased person after their death. This document must be signed by the author of the will, known as the testator, and at least two witnesses for a probate court to acknowledge it.

Wills need not be notarized in order to be legitimate, but notarized wills are more acceptable as they are simpler to present in a probate court. When a will is not notarized, the witnesses must provide a statement stating that they saw the will signed by the testator. This is known as a self-proved will. This step is not necessary if you submit a notarized will.

Without a will, a person’s possessions are transferred to their spouse or nearest relatives. The Florida Probate Rules of 2023 specifies how the decedent’s assets are split when they pass away without a will. This probate procedure is known as intestate succession.

Why Is Probate Needed?

There are various reasons why a will must be probated. To begin with, it guarantees that all obligations related to an estate are satisfied before any money is handed to beneficiaries or heirs. This serves as an assurance to prevent people from taking advantage of a decedent’s inheritance. It prevents beneficiaries from claiming more than what is mentioned in the will.

Probating a will protects the grantor against fraud by requiring independent verification. This serves as proof that all assets specified in a will exist and are owned by the decedent at the time of death.

Finally, probating a will guarantees that all outstanding taxes on an estate are correctly paid before any money is distributed to beneficiaries or heirs. That means, no one needs to worry about being held liable for the testator’s unpaid tax liabilities and debts later on.

How Long Does It Take To Probate A Will

In most cases, formal administration takes six to nine months from beginning to end. This procedure entails designating a personal representative, a 90-day creditor’s timeframe, settlement of creditor’s claims, and other steps.

The personal representative, who is appointed by the probate court after a petition by an attorney, has the authority to administer and dispose of estate assets. While the probate process may take months, the decedent’s assets can be properly liquidated and managed during this period.

When the 90-day creditor’s period expires, the personal representative seeks to close the estate by filing a Petition to Discharge.

Under the appropriate conditions, summary administration can take less than a month. This type of probate is normally reserved for estates less than $75,000 with no outstanding liabilities. All it needs is for all beneficiaries to agree to the petition. Once consent is obtained and filed with the probate court, the process begins. Usually, this probate procedure would only take about two to three weeks to complete.

If a family member died with assets, you will almost certainly need to hire a probate attorney to expedite the procedure. A probate attorney is required in a formal probate administration. While an attorney’s involvement is not essential in a summary probate administration, it would be extremely beneficial.

Benefits Of Not Having A Probate Attorney

Is it possible to conduct probate without a lawyer? Yes, it is possible, but before venturing out on your own, make sure you are aware of the benefits and drawbacks.

It is possible to avoid hiring a probate attorney if you are well-versed with the probate procedure. Here are a few advantages to managing probate by yourself or with the help of family and friends.

Saves You Time

The most significant advantage of doing probate without the assistance of a probate attorney – is time savings. Hiring a lawyer might take weeks, if not months before you can start the probate procedure. When filing for probate on your own, you avoid the wait and you can get started right away. If you don’t have an attorney, you won’t have to wait for them to undertake responsibilities like locating heirs or handing out notices to creditors.

Saves You Money

Getting a probate attorney is costly. They may charge additional fees for expenditures, such as filing and travel fees incurred while working on your case. By completing the work yourself, you avoid these extra expenses and save money in the long run. If you apply for probate without the services of an attorney, you may be entitled for price exemptions that are not obtainable if you retain one. This cuts the costs of probating a will even further.

You Gain Extra Knowledge

Even if it is daunting at first, going through the probate procedure on your own can provide significant insights into how it works and create confidence in dealing with legal concerns in the future. You will learn what papers must be filed with the probate court and how specific forms should be correctly filled out.

Learning the ropes about probating a last will would eventually be useful and advantageous on your part. If there are any disagreements among heirs or creditors throughout the probate process, you know exactly what to do. Resolving such issues needs a thorough grasp of state laws governing wills and estates.

Understanding how to navigate complicated legal processes without the assistance of probate attorneys is a vital skill that might come in handy later on in other financial situations like estates or trusts.

Downsides Of Not Having A Probate Attorney

Probate is an essential procedure in estate planning that can have substantial legal and financial repercussions. That is why, before making choices about the administration of your estate, you should speak with a probate attorney. Here are some of the dangers of not having a probate attorney.

The Possibility Of Estate Disputes

In the distribution of assets, there may be disagreements regarding who owns specific assets in an estate or what should be done with them. These issues can become unduly complicated and challenging to resolve if you do not consult a probate attorney.

An experienced probate lawyer can advise you on the best way to proceed. They also make sure that everyone involved in the will knows their legal rights and responsibilities.

The Risks Of Misinterpreting The State Laws

Every state has its unique set of rules governing probate and estate planning, so it’s crucial to grasp those laws before making any decisions. You may unknowingly breach the law or miss out on essential safeguards provided by state legislation if you do not consult a competent probate attorney.

An experienced attorney will be able to explain the applicable laws in simple terms and advise you on how to best comply with them.

Your Time, Energy & Money Might Go To Waste

One of the most significant downsides of refusing to consult with a probate attorney is wasted time and money. A competent lawyer may help you expedite the procedure by advising you on ways to save time and money throughout the probate process. This is especially useful when dealing with complicated or heavily contested issues, such as asset disputes or arguments over wills and trusts.


Probate attorneys in Miami FL & Coral Gables play an important role in guiding clients through the complicated legal concerns of probating a will. If you do not contact a competent attorney, you risk having asset disputes and wasting time and money during the process.

Before making any decisions about your will, it’s always best to consult an experienced probate attorney to ensure that your desires are carried out effectively and lawfully.

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Have questions about how to get started on your estate plan or estate needs?

Have questions about how to get started
on your estate plan or estate needs?

Contact the experienced estate planning professionals at The Estate Plan
by calling us at (305) 677-8489.

Contact the experienced estate planning professionals at The Estate Plan by calling us at
(305) 677-8489.