Does Florida Have an Official Reading of the Will?
A common scene in soap operas, movies and even cartoons involves people gathered in a room to hear the reading of a recently deceased person’s will. Typically, the scene will show relatives, friends and perhaps the butler or the mistress seated before a desk in a lawyer’s office or the deceased person’s library. In these fictional scenarios, the attorney unseals the will, reads it out loud, and everyone is dismayed to find out that the entire estate has been left to the cat. Reality, however, is quite a bit different.
Florida law does not require an official reading of the will — such an event would be extremely rare in real life, if it happens at all. Instead, the person in charge of carrying out the provisions of the will and closing the estate, known as a personal representative, will contact each person mentioned in the will individually.
The personal representative is typically named by the deceased person in their will and then formally recognized by the court. Once a court has approved this person to begin the probate process, the representative will locate all of the people named in the will as well as any other potential heirs or people who may have been included in a previous version of the will.
Rather than gathering these people together in one room, the personal representative or his attorney will send each of these people a Notice of Administration, a document containing the name of the deceased person, court information, contact information for the personal representative and information about contesting the will or making an objection. In less dramatic fashion than a reading of the will, this process is typically completed by mail.
To learn more about probate administration, speak with a trusted Florida wills and trusts attorney at the Charles Law Offices.