The paperwork filed in your case should have a “Division” noted on it. The division is a two letter code, such as “IB.” If you go the 15th Judicial Circuit website and click on “Divisions,” it will take you to a list of all the divisions in the circuit. If you click on the division assigned to your case, it will take you to the judge’s division page. That page will have the judge’s information, as well as contact information for their staff. It will also contain instructions on how to set hearings, submit proposed orders and how best to communicate with the division.
Can I look up my probate case online?
Yes. You can search court records on our website, www.mypalmbeachclerk.com. On the very top of the screen, click on “search records” and then choose “Court Records.” You can search as a guest or register as a registered user. You can search by case number or the decedent’s name. Please note: Documents filed in probate cases are not viewable online except by the parties to the case or the attorney of record in a case. In order to view these documents, you must register on our website. If you search as a guest, you will only see the case name, case number, party names and names of documents filed on the docket. If you are not a party to the case and want to view the documents, you must come into one of our offices or request the documents by mail.
How do I obtain a probate checklist? Can I print it from your website?
We offer Probate Closing Checklists that are case specific. To request a probate closing checklist please email your request to ProbateClosure@mypalmbeachclerk.com and include the case number and decedent’s name. This email address is for probate closing checklist requests only. Any other probate questions not answered by these FAQs should be sent to email@example.com. We do not offer probate checklists for initiating a probate case.
I received a blue memorandum in the mail. Who should I call?
These blue case memoranda are issued by the probate case managers who work for Court Administration. No one in the Clerk’s office can assist as these memoranda are issued on behalf of the Court. You must call the telephone number on the blue memorandum sheet and speak with the case manager. This applies to both attorneys and pro se litigants.
Can I e-file the will/death certificate?
No. The original wills and death certificates are required to be filed with the clerk’s office in all probate cases. The original can be hand-delivered or mailed to our probate division at P.O. Box 4667, West Palm Beach, FL 33402.
I am closing out my file. Am I missing any documents?
The clerk cannot tell you what may or may not be missing. Please email ProbateClosure@mypalmbeachclerk.com to request a checklist of what is needed to finalize your case and it will be emailed back to you.
I sent in proposed orders several weeks ago and have not received my orders/letters yet. Do you know the status of my order/letters?
The current wait time for orders from the probate court is 6 to 8 weeks. It can take longer depending on the facts and circumstances of each case. Once your proposed orders are sent to the judge for review, the Clerk’s office has no knowledge of the status of the order. If it has been more than 8 weeks, you will need to contact the probate case manager assigned to your case to check on the status of your orders/letters. Contact information for the probate case managers can be found on the 15th Judicial Circuit website.
When are ex-parte probate hearings held?
The current schedule for ex-parte probate hearings is as follows:
Main Branch/West Palm Beach: Tuesdays at 8:45 a.m.
North Branch/Palm Beach Gardens: Tuesdays at 8:30 a.m.
South Branch/Delray : Thursdays at 8:45 a.m.
Why is the pleading that I filed two days ago not on the docket?
The clerk’s turn-around time is 48 hours for new case indexing and 72 hours for existing case docketing. The turn-around time starts the next business day.
Probate - Basic Questions
Do you have forms I can use to file a probate action?
We have a free packet for Disposition of Personal Property without Administration that includes instructions and premade forms. If you would prefer to have the packet mailed to you, please contact our Self-Service Center at 561-355-7048. Although there are no required premade forms for a Summary Administration case, the court’s law library does have a Summary Administration packet with template forms. They can be reached at 561-355-2928. There are no forms available for formal administration as Florida law requires that you be represented by an attorney to file for Formal Administration.
What are “Letters of Administration”? I have been told I just need a letter and not an order so why do I need to open a court case?
Letters of Administration are court orders issued as part of Formal Administration cases. Letters of Administration give a personal representative the authority to begin administering the estate, including but not limited to discussing financial details with banks. It is not possible to obtain Letters of Administration without opening a probate case.
What is Disposition of Personal Property without Administration? Summary Administration? Formal Administration?
You are not required to hire an attorney for a Disposition of Personal Property without Administration or a Summary Administration case. However, Florida law does require you to be represented by an attorney to file for Formal Administration.
Does the existence of a will mean I do not need to open a probate case?
Not necessarily. A probate action can be open testate (when there is a will) or intestate (when no will was left by the decedent). If you are unsure about whether you need to open a probate case, you should consult an attorney.
My relative/loved one passed away. How do I know if I need to open a probate case?
The Clerk’s office cannot give legal advice regarding the particular facts of your situation. We recommend that you consult with a probate attorney for advice on how best to proceed.
I am in possession of a loved one’s will. Do I need to file it with the clerk’s office?
Yes, per Florida Statute 732.901 the will should be filed with the clerk’s office in the county where the decedent resided within 10 days of their death. You can file the original will in person at any of our courthouse locations or by mail, to the attention of our probate division at P.O. Box 4667, West Palm Beach, FL 33402. You must also send in an original death certificate with the will.
How is it determined to which courthouse my probate case will be assigned?
A probate action must be opened in the county where the decedent resided at the time of death, regardless of the residence of the petitioner. Sometimes, if a decedent resided in another state but has some property in Florida, the Petitioner can file for probate in the other state and file an ancillary proceeding in Florida. There are very specific rules for when ancillary probate is appropriate and you should consult with an attorney if you believe this might apply to your situation.
Probate - Claim Questions
My claim against the estate has not be paid. Can you tell me when it will be paid?
The clerk is unable to answer this question because we do not pay the claims. You may contact the attorney of record for the status of claims.
How do I know if a probate case has been filed for a particular decedent?
You can search court records on our website, www.mypalmbeachclerk.com. On the very top of the screen, click on “search records” and then choose “Court Records.” You can search as a guest or register as a registered user. Search by the decedent’s name to see if there are any court cases open in their name. Please note: documents filed in probate cases are not viewable online except for by the attorney of record in a case. You will only be able to see the case name, case number, party names and names of documents filed on the docket. To view the documents, you must come into one of our offices or request the documents by mail.
There is no probate case opened for a decedent, but I would like to be notified by your office if a case is filed. How do I request that?
You can file a caveat. A caveat is a form you file requesting to be notified if any type of probate action is opened for a decedent. The filing fee for a caveat is $41. There is no pre-made form for a caveat, so you would have to draft the document yourself. You may be able to find a template in a law library or online. You can file the caveat in person at any of our courthouse locations, by mail to the attention of our probate division at P.O. Box 4667, West Palm Beach, FL 33402, or by e-filing it through Florida’s e-filing portal.
The decedent owed me money. How do I file a claim against their estate?
If there is a probate case open for the decedent, you can file a statement of claim form in that case. If you need the form mailed to you, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or mail your request to our probate division at P.O. Box 4667, West Palm Beach, FL 33402. There is no fee to file a statement of claim.
If there is no probate case open for the decedent but you would like to be notified if a case is opened, you can file a caveat. A caveat is a form you file requesting to be notified if any type of probate action is opened for a decedent. The filing fee for a caveat is $41. There is no pre-made form for a caveat so you would have to draft the document yourself. You may be able to find a template in a law library or online.
Probate - Copies
Can I request copies of everything in a particular probate file?
If you are not a party to the case or the attorney of record for a party to the case there are certain documents you would not be able to obtain because Florida law makes them confidential to non-parties. This includes any inventories and accountings filed in the case as well as any document made confidential by court order.
How to do I request copies of documents in a probate case and how much do the copies cost?
You can send a written request for copies, along with the appropriate fee made payable to Clerk & Comptroller Palm Beach County, to our probate division at P.O. Box 4667, West Palm Beach, FL 33402. Please specify the case number, name of the decedent, and the name of the specific document(s) you want copies of in your request. Copies are $1 per page. If you would like certified copies there is an additional $2 fee per document for certification. If you need exemplified copies there is an additional fee of $7 per document for exemplification. If you need a page count or have questions about requesting copies in a probate case you can email us at email@example.com.
How can I obtain a copy of an inventory or an accounting?
You must be the personal representative, appointed by the court, or the attorney for the personal representative to receive a copy of the inventory or the accounting. If you are not one of these persons authorized to have access to an accounting or inventory, you may contact the attorney of record and request a copy or you may get an order for the Clerk to provide a copy of these documents.
Probate - Out of State
I am out of state. Do I need to come to court in Florida if I file a probate case there?
In most cases, if the probate action is uncontested there will be no hearings required. You can file your paperwork by mail, to the attention of our probate division at P.O. Box 4667, West Palm Beach, FL 33402, or electronically via the Florida e-filing portal at www.myflcourtaccess.com. See e-filing instructions for more information. Please note that the original death certificate and original will (if any) must be mailed or hand delivered to our office and cannot be e-filed. If your case is contested, you may need to appear in court. If you have an attorney, they may be able to appear on your behalf. The judge assigned to your case will determine whether a hearing is necessary and who must appear.
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