Florida law has an extensive list of statutory rules and provisions to set the standard of how probate should be conducted within state jurisdiction. If anyone files the decedent’s will to the appropriate court, the probate process cannot commence.
What happens if you don’t file the will within 10 days in Florida? Read on to find out.
Filing the Will vs. Probating the Will in Florida – As Provided by Law
Florida Statutes §732.901 (1) expressly requires 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.”
While filing the will in the court is fundamental to verifying its validity, it is not the same as filing for probate. Requesting a court to probate a deceased’s estate requires a specific petition.
As provided by Florida Statutes §732.901(3), “an original will submitted to the clerk with a petition or other pleading is deemed to have been deposited with the clerk.”
What Happens If You Don’t File the Will Within 10 Days in Florida? – The Verdict
While Florida Statutes explicitly require wills to be filed in court within ten days of discovery of the deceased’s passing, it is not the real-world standard in most cases. People often fail to deposit the will within the statutory ten-day period.
This rule does not impose a criminal or civil penalty for those who fail to meet it. If the delay continues, one of the parties with an interest in the decedent’s estate can work with an attorney to file a petition to begin the estate administration.
In the petition, the plaintiff can allege that he or she knows the will exists, who is controlling it, the defendant’s refusal to file it, and the need to probate the deceased’s estate.
Under Florida Statutes §732.901 (2), “all costs, damages, and a reasonable attorney’s fee shall be adjudged to petitioner against the delinquent custodian if the court finds that the custodian had no just or reasonable cause for failing to deposit the will.”
It is possible to request the court to order the filing, which will result in legal consequences for the person in control of the document if he or she fails to comply with the judicial decision.
If the deceased died without leaving assets subject to probate, filing a petition to compel the filing of the will is not the best approach. In this case, the plaintiff would be spending financial resources on attorneys’ fees that will not be recovered.