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Do Wills have to be filed with the Court in Florida?

November 5, 2020 CSBB Blog

Yes. All original wills must be deposited with the Court.

If you are in control of an original will you must deposit it within ten (10) days after receiving information that the testator is dead. Fla. Stat. § 732.901, governing the production of wills, states:

  1. 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. The custodian must supply the testator’s date of death or the last four digits of the testator’s social security number to the clerk upon deposit.
  2. Upon petition and notice, the custodian of any will may be compelled to produce and deposit the will. All costs, damages, and a reasonable attorney’s fee shall be adjudged to petitioner against the delinquent custodian if the court finds that the custodian had no just or reasonable cause for failing to deposit the will.
  3. An original will submitted to the clerk with a petition or other pleading is deemed to have been deposited with the clerk.
  4. Upon receipt, the clerk shall retain and preserve the original will in its original form for at least 20 years. If the probate of a will is initiated, the original will may be maintained by the clerk with the other pleadings during the pendency of the proceedings, but the will must at all times be retained in its original form for the remainder of the 20-year period whether or not the will is admitted to probate or the proceedings are terminated.  Transforming and storing a will on film, microfilm, magnetic, electronic, optical, or other substitute media or recording a will onto an electronic recordkeeping system, whether or not in according with the standards adopted by the Supreme Court of Florida, or permanently recording a will does not eliminate the requirement to preserve the original will.
  5. For purposes of this section, the term “will” includes a separate writing as described in s. 732.515.

Notwithstanding that a custodian of a will must deposit the will with the Court, there are many considerations when determining if you should probate a will.

The probate lawyers at Comiter, Singer, Baseman & Braun LLP can be contacted at (561) 626-2101.

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