Probate is a court-supervised process for identifying and gathering the assets of a deceased person (decedent), paying the decedent’s debts, and distributing the decedent’s assets to his or her beneficiaries. The Florida Probate Code is found in Chapters 731 through 735 of the Florida Statutes, and the rules governing Florida probate proceedings are found in the Florida Probate Rules, Part I and Part II (Rules 5.010-5.530).
For more information refer to the 17th Judicial Circuit Court Local Procedures.
Formal Administration is the most common form of Probate filing. The decedent must have resided or owned property in the County of filing in order to have a personal representative appointed to administer the assets of the deceased party. Due to the close supervision of collection and distribution of assets a legal representation is required. Attorneys must electronically file all documents on the Florida Courts E-Filing Portal.
A Summary Administration can be filed if the estate contains less than $75,000 in non-exempt assets, including any assets other than the decedent’s home or if at least 2 years have passed since the date of the decedent death.
A Disposition of Personal Property without Administration is a proceeding used to request release of the assets of the deceased to the heirs or other qualified parties without Formal Administration. The estate must consist of personal property exempt from claim of creditors and non-exempt personal property that does not exceed the sum of preferred funeral expenses and reasonable medical and hospital expenses of the last 60 days of the most recent illness. The decedent must have resided in the County of filing.
The trustee must file a Notice of Trust upon the death of a settlor of a trust. The decedent must have resided in the County of filing.
A Statement of Claim is a procedure used to establish the liability of a decedent. The statement of claim must be filed in duplicate and have an original signature. There is no fee for this proceeding.
The custodian of a will must deposit the will with the Clerk's Probate division, in the county in which the decedent resided, within ten days after receiving information of the death of the maker of the will. The custodian must supply the testator's date of death or social security number to the Clerk upon request. If the custodian is an attorney, they must first electronically file the will through the Florida Courts E-Filing Portal. After receiving an acceptance confirmation, the original will must be mailed to the Clerk's Office. There is no fee to deposit a will with the Clerk of Court. If the custodian is a Pro-Se party, they may file the will in the Probate division. We do not accept wills for filing unless the named party is deceased.
A caveat is a written notice filed in the Clerk of Court Probate division by a creditor or an interested person for the purpose of preventing either probate of a will or administration of an estate without notice. If the filer is an attorney the documents should be filed electronically filed through the Florida Courts E-Filing Portal. Pro-Se filers may file court documents in the Probate division.
A guardianship is generally defined as the relationship between the guardian and a ward. The guardian is the person or entity charged with the duty to take care and manage the property and rights of another person, the ward, who is considered incapable of managing their own affairs. There are several kinds of guardianships. A person wishing to be appointed guardian must employ an attorney admitted to practice in Florida. The attorney will prepare and file the necessary papers requesting the Court to appoint a guardian of the ward. All prospective guardians are required to undergo a criminal/credit investigation. Additional information regarding the investigation and education requirements may be obtained on the 17th Judicial Circuit website.
Effective July 1, 2018, a petition for injunction against exploitation of a vulnerable adult may be filed with the Clerk's office. For more information on who qualifies as a vulnerable adult, what constitutes exploitation, and who may file a petition, refer to the flyers below in English, Spanish or Creole.
Refer to Administrative Order AO-2018-58-PRC - Governing Petitions for Injunction for Protection Against Exploitations of a Vulnerable Adult.
VALID FORMS OF PAYMENT — Cash, Cashier’s Check, Bank Official Check, Money Order, or Attorney Trust Account check.|
NO PERSONAL CHECKS ARE ACCEPTED.
|For the opening of any estate that does not include issuance of Letters of Administration or Order of Summary Administration||$232.00|
|Formal Administration, Guardianship, Ancillary, Curatorship or Conservatorship||$401.00|
|Disposition of Personal Property without Administration||$232.00|
|Summary Administration Less than $1000.00||$236.00|
|Summary Administration $1000.00 or more||$346.00|
|Notice of Trust||$42.00|
|Guardianship of Person and Property||$401.00|
|Guardianship of Person only||$236.00|
|Veteran Guardianship of Person and Property||$401.00|
A will is a document executed by a person which expresses that person’s wishes as to how property is to be disposed of after the person’s death. A will usually names a personal representative to administer the estate. We do not accept wills for filing unless the named party is deceased.
Even if a will exists, all of the property owned by the deceased at the time of death is part of the estate and is subject to probate. This includes bank accounts, CD accounts, pension accounts, and the deceased’s personal property, like jewelry, furniture, and artwork.
Probate proceedings are initiated with the filing of a Petition by an interested person asking to be appointed personal representative and/or to distribute property depending on the size and complexity of property. 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.
Perform a Case Search at www.browardclerk.org.
Go to any Broward County Courthouse Location to perform a name search on a Public Access Terminal.
Mail a written request and provide the decedent's full name and date of death, along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope and include a $2.00 search fee for each decedent's name. Payment methods: Business check, Cashier's check or Money Order.
A Limited Guardian is a person who has been appointed by the court to exercise the legal rights specifically designated in the court's order.
A Plenary Guardian is a person who has been appointed by the court to exercise all delegable legal rights and powers of the ward after the court has found that the ward lacks the capacity to perform all of the tasks necessary to care for his or her own person or property.
The guardian of a person is required to file an initial plan within 60 days after letters of guardianship are granted by the court. Unless waived by a court order, annual plans must be filed within 90 days of each anniversary month of the letters of guardianship.
The guardian of the property must file an inventory of the ward’s assets as of the date of appointment within 60 days after letters of guardianship are granted by the court. Unless waived by a court order, annual accountings must be filed within 90 days of each anniversary month of the letters of guardianship.
Show Cause Hearing: All questions relating to the issuance of a Show Cause Hearing Order should be referred to the General Magistrate's office.
Other Hearing Types: For other hearing types, refer to the Notice of Hearing and/or the Show Cause Hearing Order on the Clerk of Courts website.
Before you can view online Probate and Guardianship case documents, you must first create an online eServices account and subscribe to one of the Case Access Services.
|Administrative Ad Litem||A person appointed by the Judiciary to represent and protect the assets of the estate.|
|Administrator||A person appointed by the Judiciary to handle the affairs of a person who has died with a Will or Without a Will.|
|Agent||One authorized by a party to act in that party's behalf.|
|Agent for Caveator||If Caveator is non-resident of County, an Agent may be named for service.|
|Also Known As (AKA)||An alias name.|
|As Subrogee of||One who succeeds to the legal rights or claims of another.|
|Attorney||Appointed or retained by another to transact business for him or her.|
|Attorney For Caveator||An attorney for a person who has filed a caveat.|
|Attorney For Petitioner||An attorney for a person who has filed a petition.|
|Attorney For REP/GDN||An attorney representing a representative on an estate case or an attorney representing a guardian on a guardianship case.|
|Beneficiary||Someone named to receive property or benefits in a Will, Trust, Estate or Insurance Policy|
|Caveat||A legal warning filed by a creditor of the estate of a decedent or other interested party directing the court not to admit a will of the decedent to probate without service of notice on the caveator or their designated agent.|
|Caveator||A person who enters a Caveat against an Estate.|
|Co-Counsel||An attorney appointed by the Court to protect the assets of the estate or ward.|
|Codicil||An amendment to a Will|
|Disposition||The sentencing or other final settlement of a case.|
|Domicile||The place where a person has his/her permanent legal home.|
|Estate||An estate consists of personal property (car, household items, and other tangible items), real property and intangible property, such as stock certificates and bank accounts, owned in the individual name of a person at the time of the person's death.|
|Exempt Property||This refer to certain property protect by law from the reach of creditors.|
|General Magistrates||Judicial officers appointed by the Court to hear testimony and make reports which, when approved by the presiding judge, become the decision of the Court.|
|Indigent||A party who is financially unable to pay case filing fees, and other due process costs.|
|Intestate||Dying without having a Will.|
|Intangible Assets||Non-physical items such as stock certificates, bonds, bank accounts, and pension benefits that have value.|
|Judge||An elected or appointed public official with authority to hear and decide cases in a court of law.|
|Letter of Administration/Testamentary||Legal document issued by a court that shows an administrator's/Personal Representative legal right to take control of assets in the deceased person's name.|
|Mediation||A alternative dispute resolution where the parties bring their dispute to a neutral third party, who helps them agree on a settlement.|
|Petitioner||A Person who presents a petition.|
|Personal Representative||An appointed person to handle the affairs of a person who has died.|
|Pro Se||Is a person representing herself/himself without an attorney.|
|Self-prove Will||A Will whose validity does not have to be testified to in court by the witnesses to it, since the witnesses executed an affidavit reflecting proper execution of the Will before to the maker’s death.|
|Show cause order||Court order requiring a person to appear and show why some action should not be taken.|
|Testate||Dying with a Will.|
|Trust||Legal document used to manage real or personal property, established by one person for the benefit of another. A third person manages the Trust.|
|Venue||The place or county where a legal matter arises and must be heard.|
|Ward||If a person is adjudicated to be incapacitated, the court will specify which rights the person is incapable of exercising. The court must then appoint a guardian(s) to exercise those specified rights on behalf of the incapacitated person. When a guardian is appointed, the incapacitated person is then referred to as the ward. A ward can also be a minor child.|
|Will||Document executed by a person which expresses that person’s wishes as to how property is to be disposed of after the person’s death.|
|Witness||A person who gives evidence in a case.|