When a person passes away, there are many issues to look into and it would be very difficult for someone to handle everything without the advice and guidance of an experienced probate attorney. In some cases, the will just needs to be filed with the court. In other cases proabte is needed. I usually can't tell until I sit down with the client and find out as much as I can about the assets and debts of the person who passed away. I've learned that it is better to look into what needs to be done now, rather than wait.
Be advised that Florida law does require that the original will be filed with the Clerk of the Court in the county where the person lived. This insures that an older will is not probated by mistake.
My comments are not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship, are not confidential, and are not intended to constitute legal advice. Proper legal advice can only be given by an attorney who agrees to represent you, who reviews the facts of your specific case, who does not have a conflict of interest preventing the representation, and who is licensed as an attorney in the state where the law applies.
In Florida, the will needs to be filed with the Probate Court within 10 days after your father dies. An attorney is not necessary for filing the will. However, to initiate probate and to distribute assets subject to probate an attorney is required in Florida if there is more than 1 beneficiary. You can use a different attorney than the one that drafted the will. Should you have further questions, please feel free to contact me.
Douglas R. Coenson, Esq.
I am sorry for your loss. You should file the will with the probate court in the county where your father lived. The will should be filed within ten days. It does not matter that your father's lawyer no longer practice law. You can use a different lawyer to help you probate the estate, if necessary. I have a blog post on probate basics on my website www.floridawillmaker.com. Your local clerk of court will also have information on how to administer the estate. Regards,