Palm Bay, FL asked in Probate for Florida

Q: I am in need of probate help for my brother who passed away without a will. He has a house with a mortage of 65,000.

Is it possible for a person to file probate themselves and not use an attorney?

I do not have $4,000 and that seems to be what everyone charges.

My brother was not married and no children.. Next of kin is our mother who is 98 yrs old and I have her POA.

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3 Lawyer Answers
James W. Martin
James W. Martin PRO label
Answered
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Pinellas County, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: It is possible, but not advisable. If you obtain a title insurance commitment, it will state what is required in order to insure title. Then you can seek an attorney to file the type of proceeding needed to satisfy the title company.

Phillip William Gunthert
Phillip William Gunthert
Answered
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Orlando, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: I am sorry for your loss and the passing of your brother, please accept my condolences for you and your mom and your family. When there is no Will then the Florida Intestate Statutes (without a Will) are going to apply. Some law offices will work with you based on your circumstances and allow you to pay as the probate progresses or access to estate monies is secured, so they will allow payments and not require a retainer or lump-sum payment up-front, but you have to look and shop around, some are more helpful and forthcoming than others.

1. It is possible and can be done, but generally the answer is no, you often need to have an attorney based on the interested parties, creditors and for other reasons to not overlook or miss anything, homestead filing alone is vital, but exempt property, family allowance and notice to creditors are all important and vital aspects. It is often the case that a probate is commenced on your own but eventually the judge will tell you that you need to get an attorney.

2. As stated, the $4000 is a fee that some offices will work with you on as the probate progresses. Filing fees alone are $350-$400 based on the type of probate, you may be able to use the Summary Administration in your instance.

3. This is correct, your mom would inherit everything in the example you have provided. Your power of attorney for your mom will not matter as far as your brother's probate is concerned, you as a family member or interested party can file based on that alone.

Evelyn Suero
Evelyn Suero
Answered
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Miami, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: Attorney fees are negotiable. You should consult with a probate attorney to discuss because probate administration is a complicated process.

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