Florida Probate Rules
Florida Probate Rules: Probate Procedure in Florida
Probate rules (Part I - Part IV, Rules 5.010-5.900) set forth how the probate process and guardianship proceedings operate in Florida. These rules work in conjunction with the Florida Probate Code (Chapters 731-735 of the Florida Statutes). These rules are regularly reviewed by the Probate Rules Committee of the Florida Bar. While this bar committee examines the rules and makes recommendations for changes, the Florida Supreme Court makes the decision as to whether proposed amendments and changes are eventually adopted.
The Florida Probate Rules are divided into four parts:
- Part I - General
- Part II - Probate
- Part III- Guardianship
- Part IV - Expedited Judicial Intervention Concerning Medical Treatment Procedures
Part II lays out the procedural framework for the probate process in Florida. This section includes rules that cover:
- Petition for administration
- Requirements, responsibilities and disqualification of personal representatives
- Notices to creditors
- Inventorying of assets
- Elective share rights
Part II also addresses how challenges and objections are to be handled during the course of the probate process, including probate revocation proceedings.
Rule 5.275 (Burden of Proof in Will Cases) provides that when the validity of a will is contested, the proponent of the will has the initial burden to establish the prima facie execution and attestation of the will. The burden then shifts to the person contesting the will (the contestant) to prove the grounds on which probate of the will is being challenged or the revocation of the will is sought.
Part III sets forth the rules governing the guardianship process. These rules cover guardianship petitions for incapacitated individuals as well as guardianship of minors. They explain what is required in the filing of an application for guardianship appointment and the responsibilities and requirements of the guardian. The rules in Part III also address the resignation, disqualification and removal of a guardian, along with the appointment of a successor guardian.
Part IV of the Florida Probate Rules (Rule 5.900) covers proceedings for expedited judicial intervention involving medical treatment procedures.
While these rules set forth detailed guidelines and procedures for probate and guardianship proceedings, they can be very confusing to navigate, particularly if this is your first experience with the probate process. If you have general questions about the probate process or want to know more about what is required of a personal representative, you can learn more on the Probate Information portion of our website.
When challenges or objections arise under Florida law involving the validity of a will, the duties of a personal representative, or the appointment of a guardian, you should seek the advice of experienced legal counsel. The attorneys at SW Florida Probate Trial Lawyers are skilled probate litigation lawyers who can advise you on your legal rights and identify the best courses of action available to help you resolve your challenge or dispute.