13 Jul Florida Probate Court: What Is Venue and Why Does It Matter?
By: Barry E. Haimo, Esq.
July 13, 2017
With the diversity and popularity of our state, probate matters can get quite interesting at times. In addition to citizens of the state who pass away here, there are also tourists, retirees, snowbirds, various other non-citizens, spouses of non-citizens, and others. That can sometimes make the question of venue a little confusing.
In most cases, you don’t have a choice for the venue. In fact, if you file in an incorrect venue, it can negatively impact and prolong your probate case.
What exactly am I talking about when I say “venue”? Let’s look at what venue is and why it matters.
What Is Venue?
Venue refers to the location that should be used when filing a probate case. There are several probate courts throughout the state of Florida.
It is very important to make sure that the venue you have selected is the right one, or it could end up costing you in the long run. If you are not an attorney, it is quite easy to make an error with the venue you select.
Why Does Venue Matter?
Time and effort.
If you file in the wrong court, you may not realize your error until the case is heard. Your case may then get challenged and moved. Once this happens, your case will get re-filed in the proper court.
You will then have to wait until the new court has determined a date for the case to be heard. In the end, the error may end up costing you a few months – or longer.
How Do You Know Which Venue Is Correct?
Each county in Florida has at least one probate court. If the county is large, there may be more than one probate court.
So, how can you determine which venue is correct for your case? There are several factors that you should consider.
- One of the most important factors for determining venue is where the person was living when they passed away. It is referred to as their domicile. This is usually easy to determine.
- Another factor that determines venue is real estate holdings. If the deceased has property in Florida but did not reside there, the venue is decided based on where the property is located.
- Debt is also a factor that determines venue. If the deceased did not reside in Florida and didn’t have any property here, you should determine venue based on the county that their debtor is located in.
Bottom line: if you will be handling a case in probate court, it may not be as simple as you think – and mistakes can cost you. This is why it is recommended that you consult with an experienced Florida probate attorney before proceeding.
Barry E. Haimo, Esq.
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