Probate Cases

If any creditor or interested party of an estate is apprehensive that an estate may be administered or that a will may be admitted to probate without their knowledge, they may file a caveat with the court. This document assures that if a Probate administration has been filed or is ever filed for a decedent, the Clerk shall notify the Caveator.

Upon the death of a settlor of a trust, the trustee must file a notice of trust with the court of the county of the settlor’s domicile and the court having jurisdiction of the settlor’s estate. The notice of trust must contain the name of the settlor, the settlor’s date of death, the title of the trust, if any, the date of the trust, and the name and address of the trustee.

If the settlor’s probate proceeding has been commenced, the clerk shall notify the trustee in writing of the date of the commencement of the probate proceeding and the file number.

The clerk shall file and index the notice of trust in the same manner as a caveat unless there exists a probate proceeding for the settlor’s estate, in which case the notice of trust must be filed in the probate proceeding and the clerk shall send a copy to the personal representative.

The clerk shall send a copy of any caveat filed regarding the settlor to the trustee, and the notice of trust to any caveator, unless there is a probate proceeding pending and the personal representative and the trustee are the same.

Any proceeding affecting the expenses of the administration or obligations of the settlor’s estate prior to the trustee filing a notice of trust are binding on the trustee. The trustee’s failure to file the notice of trust does not affect the trustee’s obligation to pay expenses of  administration and obligations of the settlor’s estate.

In a Formal administration, the judge appoints a personal representative to be in charge of the estate and issues Letters of Administration, giving authority to the personal representative to act.

This administration is a probate proceeding when the value of the entire estate, less the value of property exempt from the claims of creditor, does not exceed $75,000 or the decedent has been dead for more than two years and the decedent’s will, if any, does not direct a formal administration.

As the name suggests, this is a process disposing of property but requiring no administration or formal proceedings. The estate may consist solely of exempt personal property, as defined by law, with a net value of $20,000 as of the date of death and non-exempt property the value of which does not exceed the sum of funeral expenses (up to $6,000) and reasonable and necessary medical and hospital expenses of the last 60 days of the last illness.

The Clerk’s office provides the necessary form for this proceedings.

This procedure is initiated when there is property of a decedent here in Palm Beach County and an estate is opened in another state of domicile and allows the personal representative to pass title to real property.

A trust is any arrangement whereby property is transferred with the intention that it be administered by a trustee for another’s benefit. Although trusts are not filed with the Probate Court, the court becomes involved when there is an adversarial issue such as the appointment of a successor trustee.

The court may appoint a curator and issue Letters of Curatorship to take charge of an estate until letters of administration are granted.

Even though there are no probate proceedings initiated, the custodian of a will must deposit the will with the clerk of the court having venue of the estate of the decedent within 10 days after receiving information that the testator is dead. If an administration is opened at later date, the deposited will is placed in the probate administrative file at that time.

There is no filing fee for this process.

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