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Does personal rep who is only beneficiary in will have to open a probate case if deceased only owned clothes and cc bill in FL?

Sarasota, FL |

As stated in question, deceased's personal representative and beneficiary is the only one named in the will. Deceased also had a life insurance policy in which the aforementioned personal rep and her sibling were the only two beneficiaries. Deceased had a checking account shared in name with the two, aforementioned beneficiaries. Deceased lived with the personal rep (her daughter) in her daughter and son-in-law's home. Deceased received minimal SS benefit through her divorced husband's SS and a Civil Serv disability retirement income, all of which have been contacted and terminated. The credit card company has also been contacted, but the dept with them is under $1000. Deceased had no real property, stocks, bonds, cars, or anything of monetary value.

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Attorney answers 3


You should consider filing a Disposition without Summary Administration. Call the Clerk of Court in the County in which the decedent passed away. The life insurance policy will likely not be part of the estate since the decendent selected beneficiaries.

This response does not create an attorney-client relationship. Unless you are already a client of the Law Office of Preston H. Oughton, pursuant to an executed fee agreement, you should not use, interpret, or rely on this response as legal advice or opinion. Do not act on any information in this response without seeking legal advice. Preston H. Oughton (904) 854-6336.


Sorry for your loss.

A life insurance policy with named beneficiaries will pass outside probate. If the only asset is clothing, you do not need to open a probate. The bank accounts pass to the other two account holders and therefore pass outside probate. You should record the death certificate with the clerk's office in the county where the deceased lived. The cost should be about $10.

As to the credit card, the deceased's estate is responsible for paying the debit. You should contact the credit card company to notify them that the account owner is deceased. You will probably have to send them a copy of the death certificate and a letter stating that the estate is without funds and that a probate will not be opened. If the estate is without funds, the debit will not be paid back. That being said, if there was enough money in the checking account to cover the debit, you should consider paying it. You are not legally obligated to pay the debit, if you did not make any of the charges, the account was solely in the deceased's name, the bank account passed to the surviving account holders, and the rest of the deceased's estate is without funds. Keep in mind that any and all unpaid debit just eventually contribute to the rest of us paying higher fees and interest rates.

This answer is provided for informational purposes only, does not constitute legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Florida Attorney practicing in areas of Estate Planning, Elder Law, Trusts, Probate, Guardianship, and Business Law. The information provided is for educational purposes and not intended to provide legal advice or to create an attorney client relationship. Please contact me at or call my office should you like to discuss your Florida legal matter further. Actual legal advice can only be provided after completing a comprehensive consultation in which all of the relevant facts are discussed and reviewed.


I don't think you need to do anything. The will does not need to be probated. There is nothing in the estate to probate. As the other attorneys have said, the life insurance and checking account transfers by operation of law and not by probate. Leave the debt alone. There is nothing in the estate with which to pay it. Even so, after two years the debt is barred from enforcement by law even if it could be collected. If the credit card debt was owed only by the deceased then only the deceased estate is liable to pay it and there is nothing in the estate. I don't even think you have to record the death certificate since there was no real property. If there was any value to the estate (jewelry or collections of some kind) the value of them would go first for the reimbursement of the relatives for the funeral expenses.

The foregoing is not intended as legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship. Such Legal Information is intended for general informational purposes only and should be used only as a starting point for addressing your legal issues. It is not a substitute for an in-person or telephone consultation with an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction about your specific legal issue, and you should not rely upon such Legal Information.

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