WHat happens when I have the signed will of my deceased father but my sister is named executor? 3 Answers as of February 09, 2012

I have the signed will of my deceased father but my sister is named executor. I live in PA, my father lived/died in FL. I will give the original will to my sister but how can it be submitted to the appropriate court? She may be unwilling to do this - it has been 18 days since his death and she refuses to communicate. Do I need a lawyer based in Florida to begin any process that may be necessary? I have TOD for most of his accounts.

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The Law Offices of Laurie E. Ohall, P.A.
The Law Offices of Laurie E. Ohall, P.A. | Laurie E. Ohall
Under Florida law, the custodian of the Will is supposed to deposit the Will with the Clerk of Court in the county where the decedent resided within 10 days of having knowledge of the date of death. You can mail the Will, along with a cover letter stating the date of death of your father or his social security number, to the Clerk's office. There is no fee to deposit the Will. The clerk's office should send you back a receipt showing the date that the Will was received by them. If your father's assets were TOD or jointly owned with someone else, then there most likely will not be anything to probate (the Will tells the court who acts as the personal representative, who gets the assets - but that is only for accounts that were solely in the decedent's name). Although there may be no probate, you are still required to deposit the Will.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 2/9/2012
The Barrister Firm
The Barrister Firm | Christopher Benjamin
First and foremost, you should get a Florida lawyer to assist you in this matter. You can send the Will to the probate court in the county/circuit where your father resided and the Court will safeguard the Will for the future probate administration. You should really try to speak with your sister and get her to comply with your father's wishes by having her to begin the process of administering the Will through probate. If she refuses, then you can retain counsel and petition the Court to administer the Estate and be named the personal representative (i.e. Executor).
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 2/9/2012
Lisa L. Hogreve, LC | Lisa L. Hogreve
The estate should be probated in the state where your father resided at death. According to you, your father lived/died in Florida, so Florida is the proper jurisdiction for the probate. You could file the will for safekeeping with the clerk of court of the county in which your father lived. It would then be the named executor's duty to proceed with hiring an attorney to represent her in her capacity as personal representative (what the Florida Probate Code calls the executor).There are all sorts of issues that may arise that would require you to hire a Florida attorney. The personal representative's attorney could not provide you with legal advise, as that attorney represents the personal representative, not other interested parties, such as beneficiaries. For example, if you wanted to challenge the validity of the will or petition the court to be appointed the personal representative instead of your sister, or simply learn about your legal rights, you would need to hire your own attorney. Depending on the nature and value of the assets owned by your father at death and debts your father may have left, filing a probate proceeding may not be the best course of action. An attorney could help you sort out those type of issues.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 2/9/2012
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