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Juan Fernandez-Barquin
Clerk of the Court and Comptroller
Miami-Dade County

Probate Court

The Probate Court can assist with small estates petitions, Wills on Deposit and Caveats.

Small Estates

A Small Estates Petition is also known as Disposition of Personal Property without Administration. These cases are filed when a formal administration  is not necessary and no real property is involved.

The deceased must have been a resident of Miami-Dade County at the time of death. Assets of the deceased must be $6,000 or less and cannot exceed the funeral bill. Other restrictions may apply depending on the circumstances.

If the assets are over $6,000, you cannot proceed with a small estates action and it is suggested that you consult with an attorney.

Filing a Small Estates Petition

A Small Estates Petition can be filed in person at the Probate Court Office or by mail. If filing by mail, please provide a self-addressed, stamped envelope. A deputy clerk will mail the necessary forms and instructions.

You must submit:
  • A certified copy of the death certificate
  • A copy of the itemized funeral contract
  • The receipt paid in full 
  • A copy of any documentation of the decedent's assets
  • Applicable filing fees
Assets are only released to the party who paid the funeral bill.

If there is more than one bank account, there is an additional $3 fee per account.


A caveat is a legal notice to a court or public officer to suspend a certain proceeding until the notifier is given a hearing. A caveat filed by an heir, interested party or creditor will be accepted before a case is filed. 

Once an estate is opened, we will notify the person who submitted the caveat in writing of the case number, the date the letters were issued, the name of the personal representative and the attorney on the case. We do not supply caveat forms, yet we will supply the claim form once a case is opened. There is no filing fee for any of these forms.

Wills and Probate

Once your loved one has passed, the custodian of the will must deposit the will with the Clerk of the Court in the county and state where the deceased lived. This must be done within 10 days after being informed that the person has died. A small estates claim can be filed in person or by mail for assets less than $6,000. Spouses of the deceased person who want to release money from a bank account can file a small estates petition. For more information, see filing a small estates petition section. 

Avoiding Probate  

In order to preserve your assets and have them distributed as you want, you must see your attorney and advise him or her of your financial situation. The probate of all wills and granting of letters must be in the state and county where the deceased lived.


When a person leaving an estate dies without being survived by any person entitled to it, the possessions shall become the property of the state. If you believe you are entitled to a decedent's estate, you can file a claim form with the Clerk's Office. The claim form is available at the Clerk's Office. It must be filed in duplicate within three months from the date of the first publication of the notice of administration. There is no fee for filing a claim.

  • Opening an estate; open a safe-deposit box; enter rooms and places; determination of heirs; foreign guardian, authenticating copies, settling minor's claims, emergency misc.-CP and GD - $232
  • Caveat and notice of trusts - $40
  • Petition and order to admit foreign wills - $232
  • Disposal of personal property without administration - $232
  • Summary administration for estate < $1,000 - $236
  • Summary administration for estate >= $1,000 - $346
  • Formal & ancillary administration, curatorship and conservatorship - $401
  • Guardianship of person only - $236
  • Formal guardianship - $401
  • V.A. guardianship - $236
  • Petition for incapacity - $232
  • Appeal to District Court of Appeals (Check written to District Court) - $300
  • Appeal to District Court of Appeals (Collected by Clerk) - $100
  • Filing of verified inventory valued at > $25,000 - $85
  • Filing annual accounting for estate valued at <= $25,000 - $20
  • Filing annual accounting for estate valued at $25,000 to $100,000 - $85
  • Filing annual accounting for estate valued at $100,000.01 to $500,000 - $170
  • Filing annual accounting for estates valued at > $500,000 - $250
  • Filing fee for reopening a case - $50
  • Attorney appearing pro hac vice - $100

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