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What documents must be given to beneficiaries of will in Florida?

Palm Bay, FL |

Copy of will? Accounting of monies and assets? Distibution of assets?

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Attorney answers 3


Under Florida law the beneficiaries and other "interested persons" are entitled to see a copy of the will. Also, the beneficiaries are entitled to see the initial Inventory prepared by the personal representative (i.e., the executor). Finally, the beneficiaries are entitled to a final accounting if they have any objections to the personal representative's plan of distribution of the assets of the estate.

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The answer depends on whether or not the will was probated. Not all wills or estates are, you know. You only have to probate estates that have real estate in them. You can summarily probate estates which are worth less than $75,000 and have no real estate.

But, if the estate is being formally probated and you are a named beneficiary in a will, then the estate cannot be closed or completed without your signature on acceptances or waivers of notice, inventories, and accountings. Otherwise the personal representative has to send you a notice of hearing and appear before the probate judge if you disagree. You have all the rights and powers of a litigant if you do not agree with what the personal representative (executor) is doing or has done.

As far as copies of documents. If you haven't been sent copies by the attorney for the PR then go to the probate clerk's office and ask to see the file. You can make copies of the documents, including the will. (A dollar a page, of course).

If the estate has not been offerred for probate and you think it should, then you, as a beneificiary, can offer it for probate yourself. You can begin the court action as an "interested party". You don't need the will. Just the death certificate (which you can get from the health dept.), a petition for administration and the filing fee. You will need a probate attorney, however.

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Regardless of whether the will was probated, it is required to be deposited with the court within 10 days of death by the custodian of the will. You as a qualified beneficiary are also entitled to see a copy of it even if there are no assets that are subject to the will.

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