FLORIDA PROBATE: WHAT ARE THE FLORIDA PROBATE RULES?
Are you involved in a Florida estate?
Did somebody just passed away in Florida, and you’re wondering what’s going on, and what’s happening with the estate?
Well, whether you are a beneficiary, or not, or someone who is owed money by the dead Florida resident, you may be getting legal documents in the mail, which are probably court filed documents. Many document need to be filed with the Florida probate court once a Florida estate is “opened up.”
You’ve probably seen what appear to be warnings on these Florida probate court documents, talking about the Florida Probate Rules.
What are the Florida Probate Rules?
The Florida Probate Rules are a guidepost, or roadmap, for people who are involved in the estates of deceased Florida residents.
The Florida Probate Rules are actually prepared, reviewed, and changed, or amended, regularly by……. who else? A bunch of Florida lawyers. The Florida Bar has a probate rules committee whose job it is, among other things, to keep the Florida Probate Rules proper and current. The rules committee will make recommendations for changing, or improving, the Florida Probate Rules. The Florida Supreme Court, however, will either agree to the proposed changes to the Florida Probate Rules or not agree to any proposed changes to the Florida Probate Rules. This is done after the Florida Probate Rules committee has met and considered proposed changes, has made recommendations, and has published these recommendations. The Florida Supreme Court and the Florida Probate Rules committee will review, or entertain, or consider, any comments from Florida probate lawyers as to proposed or suggested changes to the Florida Probate Rules.
What do the Florida Probate Rules say?
The Florida Probate Rules tell executors or administrators of Florida estates, referred to in Florida as “personal representatives” what to do and how to act. They are procedural and other guidelines, time frames, and rules of conduct: what you’re supposed to do, what you may do, and what you can’t do, in the course of administering a Florida estate. The Florida Probate Rules, for that matter, also tell everyone else what to do regarding Florida estates, including beneficiaries, heirs, surviving spouses, and people who are owed money by the dead Florida resident. The rules contained in the Florida Probate Rules cover just about every issue contained in the Florida Probate Code.
The Florida Probate Code is different than the Florida Probate Rules. The Florida Probate Code is a group of Florida estate statutes, which is the law for Florida estates, and Florida probate. One way to look at the Florida Probate Code may be to consider that the Florida Probate Code sets forth people’s rights, and obligations, and certain time frames, which serve as the backbone for the administration of estates and guardianships in Florida. The Florida Probate Rules tell us how to get there: they tell us how to enforce our rights, seek relief, discover the facts.
The Florida Probate Rules contain guidelines for almost everything imaginable related to Florida probate and estates: from technical, constitutional issues of how you sue someone, to what documents need to be filed in a Florida estate, to evidentiary matters and procedural rules of a will contest, that is, when someone objects to a Florida will, or someone wants to set aside a Florida will.
Safe deposit boxes, accountings, compensation of the personal representative? It’s all in the Florida Probate Rules. The elective share of the widow? Sales of Florida real estate? Federal estate tax returns? It’s there.
The Florida Probate Rules also contain rules for Florida guardianships. Florida guardianship proceedings or lawsuits may be filed when someone, a Florida resident, may need some assistance with his or her day-to-day living, or some assistance with his or her financial affairs. Guardianships are taken very seriously by probate judges, and Florida probate courts, because they intervene in the most basic and important matters a Florida resident’s life: namely, our civil liberties and basic human rights. The Florida Probate Rules, in Part III, set forth the rules for guardianships in Florida.
In the end, the Florida Probate Rules , along with the Florida Probate Code, are the backbone for the rights, obligations, and procedures for dealing with Florida guardianships, Florida estates of dead Florida residents, and did Florida residents’ property.