By: Rebecca L. Nichols, Esq.

Published at

14 November 2022

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Understanding When to Deposit a Last Will & Testament with the Court in Florida

When dealing with probate and trust estate matters, specifically wills, it is important to understand the procedure and common protocol. Familiarizing yourself with crucial statutes such as Florida Statute 732.901(1) is of high importance. This statute mandates the custodian of a will deposit the Last Will & Testament with the appropriate court clerk "within 10 days after receiving information that the testator is dead."

In most cases, the nominated personal representative delivers the will to the Lawyer. Subsequently, the Probate Lawyer will deposit it with the appropriate court. Depositing the original Last Will & Testament safeguards the will, ensuring it's appropriately preserved upon the testator's passing.

Importance of Last Will and Testament Preservation in the Court System

Once deposited, the will receives meticulous care from the court clerk. The Court is legally obligated to "retain and preserve the original will in its original form for at least 20 years." This gives ample time for the probate process and other legal proceedings to occur, if necessary. If and ample time for the probate process and other legal proceedings to occur, if necessary. If and when a probate proceeding commences, the original will may be kept by the court clerk alongside other legal documents, as per Florida Statute 732.901(4) This careful storage and preservation provide an additional layer of security to the decedent’s Last Will and Testament in Florida.

Understanding the Legal Consequences of Non-compliance

Failing to comply with this law isn't without consequences. Florida statute provides that failing to produce and deposit the will could result in the filing of a petition compelling the custodian to comply, as per Florida Statute 732.901(2).

Potential Penalties for Non-Compliance

Aside from compelling the custodian to deposit the Will, a petitioner can seek more severe consequences against the custodian of the Will. Costs, damages, and reasonable attorney’s fees may be ordered against this custodian if there is a lack of justifiable reason for failing to deposit the will. Therefore, it is advisable to act promptly in depositing a will or contacting a Florida Trusts and Estates attorney to avoid potential penalties.

Need for a Knowledgeable Legal Partner

The legal landscape of Comprehensive Estate Planning, particularly the management of a Will, can be complicated. The text of legal statutes can confuse those unfamiliar with legal terminology. Given these complexities, it's beneficial to consult with an experienced Florida Probate Administration Attorney who can guide you through these steps seamlessly. A lawyer's guidance ensures that you act promptly and in compliance with Florida's legal requirements.

In conclusion, understanding when and how to deposit a will with the court in Florida is a crucial component of managing an estate. Acting promptly when the testator passes is necessary to ensure the appropriate legal steps are taken. Acting swiftly and contacting a trusted Probate and Trust Estate Attorney can help you avoid potential legal consequences associated with maintaining a decedent’s Will.

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