Under Florida law, a will must be admitted to probate in order to be valid. All wills that are admitted to probate are public record, a copy of which may be made by any interested member of the public. The Florida Judiciary does not maintain a statewide database of probate cases or an online database of probate filings, so you must actually travel to the probate court where a will is filed in order to obtain a copy.
Determine the Florida county where the decedent may have filed his will. Under Florida law, the personal representative for the estate of a deceased person is required to file the will with the probate court in either the county where the decedent maintained a permanent residence or owned land.
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Check online or call the probate clerk, during working hours, to determine whether the decedent filed a will. The Florida Judiciary publishes an online listing of Florida circuit courts. While some circuit courts maintain an online list of probated wills, you will not be able to obtain a copy of the decedent’s will online. If the circuit court maintains an online probate database, search for the decedent by full name and date of birth. If the circuit court does not maintain an online probate database, call the probate court during working hours and provide the decedent’s full name and date of birth. From either the online database or speaking with the probate clerk, you can obtain the file number for the decedent’s probate case.
Visit the Florida probate clerk during working hours and give the clerk the file number. The probate clerk will be able to retrieve a copy of any filings made in the decedent’s probate case, including a copy of the will and any codicils. A codicil is a document that amends portions of a will that has already been executed.
Pay any required filing fee. The filing fee for retrieving a copy of a Florida will varies by judicial district but will typically cost between $1 and $4 per page.
Salvatore Jackson began writing professionally in 2010. He has experience with international travel, computers, sports and law. Jackson is a licensed attorney with experience in legal research. He received his Juris Doctor from Tulane University in 2010.