Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Florida

I am a resident of Jacksonville, FL whose mother passed away in January 2010 without a will. The only asset is the family home valued at $48,000.00. My father passed away long before my mother which leaves ten (10) children (all living). The children have discussed and agreed to have the home deeded to the surviving child who is already living in the residence in order to maintain the home, purchase insurance and continue living in the home. After doing research on the Probate Statutes for the State of Florida, I've determined that the only thing needed is a Summary Administration. I keep being told that I have to have an attorney complete the Probate process so I guess I need an affordable attorney. Please consider that whatever cost that's incurred is all mine. Is this something that I can get done quickly and affordably?

Asked on 8/16/12, 4:57 am

3 Answers from Attorneys

Lucreita Becude Lucreita D. Becude, P.A.
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Yes you must have an attorney per the statutes of this state. If what you say is all there is, all heirs can be located then yes a Summary Administration can be completed along with getting Homestead Exemption as well. The fee is $1500.00 plus filing fee of $345.00. Be minded that this is based on what you have stated. Otherwise, the fee could be more.

If I can be of assistance please contact my office for an appointment.

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Answered on 8/16/12, 8:19 am
Barry Stein De Cardenas, Freixas, Stein & Zachary
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I would suggest that a full administration with publication notice is the better method although more costly because it will flesh out all potential claimants and avoid any charge backs later against the asset. It is more expensive than quoted already but the peace of mind is worth the extra cost. the full administration may be necessary in order to write a title policy on the house as well and i would recommend you consider doing that. Consult an appropriate attorney in your area.

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Answered on 8/16/12, 9:06 am
C Randolph Coleman The Coleman Law Firm, PLLC
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I agree with Mr. Stein's comments. If there is any chance at all that you may want to transfer the property to another person or entity within two years of the death of your mother, the title insurance agency will probably require you to complete a formal administration for the property even if you already have completed the summary administration before they will provide title insurance.

If you believe there is absolutely no possible circumstance that you will want to convey the property within the two year time frame, then maybe you can consider the summary administration, but Mr. Stein's comments are accurate that the formal administration eliminates any concerns about creditors' claims arising within that two year time frame.

The "magic" of the two years, is that creditor claims are barred two years after the decedent's date of death.

Good luck with your probate.

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Answered on 8/17/12, 7:21 am

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