Inheritance in Florida

In this article we will take a closer look at the probate process in Florida and how it compares to Germany. There are some quite unique and special aspects that are important to keep in mind as you are navigating the inheritance process in Florida.

Here are some of the highlights:

Florida requirements for a will to be valid are very different from the way it is done in Germany. In Florida we require the Testator (person creating the will) to sign the will at the end; and 2 witnesses must be present to the signing. Finally, the witnesses must sign the will in the presence of the testator and in the presence of each other.


The full text of the governing law can be found here.

International cases present additional complexities. What happens to dual citizens with property located abroad? Choice of law questions come into play when a U.S. Citizen resides abroad or vice versa a Green Card Holder drafts a last will and testament for property located abroad and in the United States. All of these scenarios and more make the field of international inheritance cases complex and multifaceted.

When a probate matter is filed for inheritance in Florida it generally follows this process and is governed by the state laws in Florida:

  1. The case is initiated in a Florida Court: If the deceased person (decedent) had a valid will, it needs to be filed with the probate court in the county where the decedent resided. If there’s no will (intestate), the court will follow Florida’s laws of intestacy (a seperate post will follow to explain the order of inhertiance when there is no valid will in Florida) to determine how the estate should be distributed.

  2. Appointment of Personal Representative: The court will appoint a personal representative (executor) to administer the estate. This person is usually named in the will, but if not, the court will appoint someone, often a family member or a trusted individual.

  3. Identifying and Valuing Assets: The personal representative is responsible for identifying and collecting all assets owned by the deceased. This can include real estate, bank accounts, investments, personal property, and more. These assets need to be valued as of the date of death.

  4. Paying Debts and Taxes: Before any inheritance can be distributed, the estate’s debts, including funeral expenses, taxes, and creditors’ claims, must be paid. Florida law prioritizes the payment of certain debts and taxes before distributing assets to beneficiaries.

  5. Distribution of Assets: Once debts and taxes are settled, the remaining assets are distributed according to the terms of the will or Florida’s intestacy laws if there’s no will. Beneficiaries named in the will receive their inheritances, or heirs determined by intestate succession laws inherit the estate.

  6. Final Accounting and Closing the Estate: The personal representative must provide a final accounting to the court detailing all transactions and distributions made during the probate process. Once approved by the court, the estate can be closed, and the personal representative is discharged of their duties.

  7. Challenges and Disputes: In some cases, disputes may arise regarding the validity of the will, the interpretation of its provisions, or the actions of the personal representative. These disputes may be resolved through mediation, negotiation, or litigation in probate court.

inheritance in florida
inheritance in florida
Disputes may arise during the inheritance process, often concerning the validity of the will, the interpretation of its provisions, or the actions of the personal representative. These disputes can lead to delays and complications, requiring resolution through mediation or litigation in probate court.
In many counties in Florida there are summary administration proceedings that allow you to move the case much faster. Usually the requirements are that an estate is valued less than 75,000 USD. The following is a sample form of a Inheritance in Florida case with summary administration.
Navigating the inheritance process in Florida requires a good understanding of the state’s laws and procedures. Whether you are a beneficiary, executor, or heir, having the right knowledge and guidance can make a significant difference. By familiarizing yourself with Florida’s inheritance laws and seeking assistance when needed, you can ensure that the process is handled effectively and efficiently, allowing you to focus on honoring your loved one’s legacy.


The material in this post represents general information and should not be deemed legal advice. Any use of the website DOES NOT create or constitute an attorney-client relationship between German American Real Estate & Immigration Law Center, LLC (law firm) or any employee of or other person associated with the law firm and a user of this website. It is intended as an educational resource for
understanding the laws. Since the law is continually changing, some parts of this website may become outdated before the next update. It is always best to consult an attorney about your legal rights and responsibilities regarding your particular case.