If someone dies with a will in Florida, the person in control of the document must submit it to the appropriate court within ten days of the discovery of the testator’s death. Generally, the will is accompanied by a petition to probate the deceased’s estate.
What happens if no one files a petition for probate in Florida? Read on to find out.
Filing for Probate in Florida – The Basics
Florida Statutes §732.901 (1) specifies that “the custodian of a will must deposit the will with the clerk of the court having venue of the estate of the decedent within 10 days after receiving information that the testator is dead.”
The same statute adds that “the custodian must supply the testator’s date of death or the last four digits of the testator’s social security number to the clerk upon deposit.” However, there is no specific requirement to file probate documents.
What Happens if No One Applies for Probate in Florida? – Understanding the Consequences
No Asset Distribution for the Deceased’s Heirs
If no one applies for probate, the decedent’s asset cannot be inherited. When someone dies owning assets solely in his or her name, these assets must go through probate before being distributed to the deceased’s heirs.
It is not possible to transfer the title of any assets that exist in the decedent’s name without court authorization.
If the value of the decedent’s estate subject to probate exceeds $75,000 or the decedent has been dead for less than two years, the estate may go through formal administration.
During probate, the court will verify the validity of the last will and appoint a personal representative to execute the estate and distribute it to the rightful heirs.
If the value of the decedent’s estate subject to probate is less than $75,000 or the decedent has been dead for more than two years, the estate may qualify for summary administration – a quicker form of probate in Florida.
In both cases, one of the interested parties must file a petition for formal administration or a petition for summary administration.
Clouded Title of Property
Generally, most properties subject to probate do not have a designated beneficiary at the time of the owner’s death. If the legitimate title holder is no longer alive, a property must go through court-supervised probate to determine who will inherit it. In such cases, failing to file for probate may create a clouded title.
Legal Disputes Between Heirs
When someone dies intestate, the will must be submitted to the court with a petition for probate. If the deceased has no will, filing for probate is crucial to request a court to execute the estate under Florida laws of intestacy.
If the assets cannot be lawfully distributed, the situation may result in emotional distress between the deceased’s heirs – fertile soil for costly disputes and time-consuming lawsuits that may hinder the process even more.
No Chance to Contest the Deceased’s Will
Any interested party to a will in Florida has the right to contest the document based on feasible grounds. If no one files for probate, the interested parties may not contest the existing problems affecting a will.
This way, the court cannot assess the document and verify the validity of the claims to void the will in whole or part.