In order to obtain the homestead exemption you would need to be a permanent resident of Florida. Your father's homestead exemption should not affect your ability to homestead the property once it is in your possession and you comply with Florida Statutes.
In Florida, a creditor can open a probate on their own behalf if they have an outstanding debt related to the estate. You should post this question to avvo attorneys practicing in D.C. As they would be able to advise you related to the law there, as every state is different.
It would be impossible for an Attorney to tell you the document does not count without a full review. Most of the time, only small amendments are required to conform with Florida law but every situation is different and I would recommend you consult with an Estate Planning attorney regarding the same. Our office offers a free consultation and we would be happy to discuss your options at such time.
Probate would be required in Florida, however if that is the only asset you would be able to do a summary administration that is an abbreviated process. You will need an attorney in Florida to assist you.
You would need to post this question to an Attorney in New Jersey. You should try to search the same County or town your grandfather lived to find an Attorney. You typically can find out information from the clerk of court, or surrogate court, related to if a Will had been filed in the County where your grandfather passed away and lived at the time of his death.
I would recommend discussing the matter with the Attorney so you can clearly understand why the Petition was inaccurate and rejected. Further you should discuss the handling of Attorney fees prior to dismissing the Attorney to ensure you can resolve any issues related to the Estate and avoid excessive fees being charged to switch Attorneys. If you do not feel you can trust your current Attorney, changing to another law firm would be a good idea, but as Personal Representative you do need to...
You would typically add the relationship of the person who is filing the Petition or receiving the assets. I do think you should be careful in handling a Summary Administration yourself, as the bank can be very picky about what they require in the order.
I would suggest you try to find her Will, as they may be a devise for you under the Will. Wills become part of the public record once they are filed, so you should check the County clerk where you mother died to see if a Will has been filed. You also may be able to find out the details of any lawsuit from the clerk of Courts and contact the Attorney who represented her.
A Last Will and Testament can be valid in Florida when executed by two witnesses and a notary public, all within the same room as the person creating the Will, however there are several other requirements to ensure proper execution. You should be very careful when executing a Will without an attorney, as if the person witnessing has an interest in the Will, it could be contested and ultimately thrown out. Unfortuneatly it is not as simple as just signing the Will and you really do want to...
It does sound like the Personal Representative is trying to wrap up the estate and possibly distribute all assets, however if this was an Order signed by a Judge, a Petition would have been filed with it which would provide you more guidance about specifically what the Personal Representative was asked the court to do.