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Wills, Probate & Guardianships

Pursuant to 5.030 Probate Rules of Court every guardian and every personal representative, unless the personal representative remains the sole interested person, shall be represented by an attorney admitted to practice in Florida.

Estate Distribution of Personal Property
Florida Statute 735.301 states:

No administration shall be required or formal proceedings instituted upon the estate of a decedent leaving only personal property exempt under the provisions of s. 732.402, personal property exempt from the claims of creditors under the Constitution of Florida, and nonexempt personal property the value of which does not exceed the sum of the amount of preferred funeral expenses and reasonable and necessary medical and hospital expenses of the last 60 days of the last illness. Upon informal application by affidavit, letter, or otherwise by any interested party, and if the court is satisfied that subsection (1) is applicable, the court, by letter or other writing under the seal of the court, may authorize the payment, transfer, or disposition of the personal property, tangible or intangible, belonging to the decedent to those persons entitled. Any person, firm, or corporation paying, delivering, or transferring property under the authorization shall be forever discharged from liability thereon.�

Note: Click on the following link to access the Florida Statutes and to view information regarding personal property exempt under s. 732.401. Florida Statutes

For more information concerning estates or guardianships, contact your lawyer or the law library. If you do not have a lawyer, contact the Florida Bar Lawyer Referral Service or your local bar association office.

Sarasota Law Library
(941) 861-8191
2050 Adams Lane
Sarasota, FL 34237

Sarasota County Bar Association
(941) 861-8180
PO Box 507
Sarasota, FL 34230

Florida Bar Lawyer Referral Service
1-(800) 342-8011

Clerk of the Circuit Court Locations
Sarasota Office
Probate Department
2000 Main Street, Room 102
Sarasota, FL 34237
Venice Branch
R. L. Anderson Administration Bldg.
4000 South Tamiami Trail, 2nd Floor
Venice, FL 34293

Guardianship is the duty or authority of a person lawfully invested to manage the estate of another. There are various types of guardianships. An attorney can assist you in determining what type, if any, is needed. There are programs available to help guardians understand some of the basics involving guardianships. Please contact the State College of Florida at (941) 752-5203 for more information.

Attorney Rotation List for an Alleged Incapacitated Person (AIP) in a Guardianship Case
The 12th Judicial Circuit Probate Division maintains a list of attorneys who have agreed to represent alleged incapacitated persons in guardianship cases. This list is provided to the Clerk of Court, who is then responsible for ensuring the proper rotation by providing the names for appointment as requested. 

The attorney filing the petition for guardianship must contact the Clerk of the Circuit Court by calling the Probate and Guardianship department at (941) 861-7612 to obtain the name of the next available attorney. It is then the petitioning attorney’s responsibility to contact the assigned attorney, who shall advise if they are able to represent the AIP in the guardianship proceeding. If the attorney is unable or unwilling to represent the AIP, the petitioning attorney shall notify the Clerk’s office to obtain the next available name on the rotation list.  

The Clerk of the Circuit Court will maintain an internal record of the attorney rotation, including the date the attorney’s name was distributed,  the name of the petitioning attorney and  name of the AIP, as well as documentation of instances when the attorney was unable to accept an appointment. 

Questions regarding the maintenance of this list should be addressed to the Manager of Civil Customer Service by calling (941) 861-7612.

Forms are available through the Law Library or the Florida Bar Association.

Wills are filed only after a death, and there is no charge for filing a will. The law requires the will be filed with the Clerk of the Circuit Court within ten days.

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Locations: 2000 Main Street, Sarasota / 4000 S. Tamiami Trail, Venice / Phone: (941) 861-7400
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