2016 Amendments to the Florida Probate Rules

This year the Florida Probate Rules Committee has a added a few new rules to the Probate Code. Many of these rules are minor amendments to the old rules or clarifications of previously vague language. The biggest change to the code was the addition of a separate rule for Guardian Accounting under 5.696. This means there are now different rules for guardian accountings from the other types of probate accountings.

Below is a summary of the 2016 amendments to the Florida Probate Rules

Rule 5.040 (Notice)

The Florida Probate Rules Committee added a new subdivision (e) to this statute. This new wrinkle to the law provides if a document is served in the manner provided for service of formal notice, then service will be deemed complete when the document is received.

Rule 5.042(d) (Time; additional Time after Service by Mail or E-mail)

This rule was revised to clarify the statute, which had previously been confusing due to its word choice. Now the revised statutes clarify the Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.514(b) does not apply if a document is served by formal notice or in the manner provided for service of formal notice.

Rule 5.080 (Discovery and Subpoena)

Here the Committee amended the law to authorize taking testimony in all probate and guardianship proceedings according to Rule of Civil Procedure 1.451

Rule 5.346 (Fiduciary Accounting)

This rule was amended to apply to all fiduciary accountings, except a guardian accounting. The Committee made a new rule specifically for guardian accountings, which is listed under rule 5.696 below.

Rule 5.550 (Petition to Determine Incapacity) and Rule 5.560 (Petition for Appointment of Guardian of an Incapacitated Person)

A petition to determine incapacity or an appointment for guardian now must also state whether there are possible alternative to guardianship known to the petitioner. The petitioning party must identify any known surrogates, trust agreements, powers of attorney, or advanced directives.

Rule 5.696 (Guardian Accounting)

The biggest change the Committee made to Florida probate law is the new guardian accounting rule. A guardian accounting must now include several items. The accounting must include a statement of the starting balance of all assets on hand at the beginning of the accounting period. The accounting must also have a full account of all receipts and disbursements of the ward’s property over which the guardian has control.

This report must include a schedule of the assets at the end of the accounting period. The accounting should also include a copy of the annual or year-end statement for all of the ward’s cash accounts. The accounting must also include two values: the asset’s acquisition value and the asset’s estimated current value. The guardian must also verify the accounting report.

For more information on the new Florida Probate Code changes contact the  a probate attorneys in Jacksonville at The Law Office of David Goldman PLLC and keep up-to-date with our blog.



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