First Steps to Opening a Florida Probate

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If you are interested in opening a Florida probate, your Florida attorney will follow these initial steps to open the estate.

Deposit Original Will

If the decedent (the person that passed away) had a Will, the person that possesses the original Last Will either sends it to the attorney, or files it with the county clerk of the court. The county is based upon where the decedent had a residence, or owned property. If neither of those applies, then you may choose where any debtor of the decedent resides.

At the time of the filing, you also provide the date of death and the last four digits of the decedent’s social security number. You will receive a receipt back from the court. If you file this without an attorney, hold onto this receipt so that the future probate case may be linked to the filing of the Last Will.

You will see many commercials and blogs that assert that you must file the Last Will within 10 days or suffer consequences. It is often impossible to meet this deadline. Thus, individuals regularly file Last Wills past the ten-day deadline without consequence.

Filing Initial Documents

As Florida courts use an e-file system, it is typical that the law firm will have the original Last Will but first file the initial pleadings, wait for a case number, and then follow up with the Last Will via mail.

Documents Submitted with the Initial Filing

To open up the Florida estate, your lawyer will file these documents.

-The original Will and any attachments to it.

-A petition for administration

-A notice of designation of email addresses for service of documents

-A certified copy of the death certificate, without case of death listed.

-Proposed Order admitting the Last Will to probate

-Proposed Letters of Administration

-Waiver of the service of the notice of administration and consent to probate from all interested persons willing to sign.

-Oath of Personal Representative.

-Notice of Confidential Information


If you live in Florida and want your case to be handled by a professional, contact Lori Vella. 

Lori Vella is an Estate Planning and Business Attorney. She works virtually throughout Florida and New York, but has her home office in Tampa, Florida. She is mom to a little boy which ignited the passion for helping other families. She and her son enjoy car rides, playgrounds and taking mini-adventures. They also have an organic garden that surprisingly yields vegetables. Lori considers herself well-versed in Seinfeld and welcomes any trivia!

Disclaimer: The Law Office of Lori Vella’s website contains general information directed to Florida residents. This firm does not intend to give legal advice through its pages and/or blog. If you need legal advice, we encourage you to find an attorney licensed in your state. This language on this website does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and this firm.

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