Wills and Probate

family lawPROTECT YOUR FAMILY AND HEIRS...DON'T BE CAUGHT WITHOUT A WILL.  As a service back to the community, the cost for a will is only $149.00 at Carl L. Griffin, P.A.

In Florida the Probate Courts look to see if there is a will.   If an individual passes without a will their estate may still need to be probated.  In determining if an estate should be probated, a close look must be taken as to how the decedent's property was titled, value of the estate, marital status and if there are any surviving minor children.  For example, a married couple who own a home together as husband and wife, if one of the spouses predecease the other, by law the surviving spouse becomes the sole owner of the property. The key here is how the property is titled.

There are different types of administration.  Summary, ancillary or formal administration. 

Summary Administration is an abbreviated proceeding either with or without a will where the value of the entire estate subject to administration is less than the value of property exempt from the claims of creditors, does not exceed $75,000.00 or the decedent has been dead for more than 2 years.

Ancilliary Admininstration is a probate proceeding in a different state.  This usually occurs when the deceased person owned real estate in their sole name in a state other than his or her home state.

Formal Administration is a proceeding with or without a will that is not covered by Summary Administration or disposition of personal property.

It is important to choose an attorney with full knowledge of the probate laws and proceedings.  We have found that in some instances formal administration was filed, when in fact, summary administration was the proper avenue.  The reason this so important is the cost factor to the beneficiaries.  For example, formal administration can cost up to 3% of the total non-exempt assets of the estate whereas summary administration, if proper, would be under $2,000.00.


What is a will?
A written direction controlling the disposition of property at death and allowing you to choose your personal representative to carry out your wishes.  In Florida, you must be of sound mind, 18 years of age, and the will has to be in writing and signed in the presence of two witnesses and a notary.

What happens if I don't have will?
Your property will be distributed to your heirs, according to a formula fixed by law. Property does not go to the State of Florida unless there are no heirs at law. The cost of probating may be greater than if you had planned your estate with a will.

What is a living will?
A living will is a document that directs the withholding or withdrawal of life prolonging procedures in the event one should have a terminal condition. It must be signed in the presence of two witnesses and notary.

What is a Durable Power of Attorney?
A Durable Power of Attorney allows another person of your choosing to act on your behalf in any and all matters that you specifically direct in the Power of Attorney.  Powers of Attorney cease upon death.  It is important to understand that upon giving a Durable Power of Attorney you are giving that person the ability to conduct business on your behalf without your knowledge and/or consent.

The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written documentation about our qualifications and experience. This website is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.

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Contact Information

Carl L. Griffin, P.A.

Orlando Office
2223 Curry Ford Road
Orlando, FL 32806
Phone: 407-897-2275

Ocala Office
820 East Fort King Street
Ocala FL 34471-2320
Phone: 352-236-2275