Section 732.901 of the Florida Probate Code codifies the legal requirements for custodians who locate a decedent’s will. This section of the Florida Probate Code requires the custodian who locates a testator’s will to file it within 10 days after he learns of the testator’s death. A custodian must deposit a decedent’s will with the local circuit court in the county of the decedent’s death or residence. The custodian must provide the probate court with the testator’s Social Security number and his approximate date of death. Failure of a custodian to file or deposit the testator’s will with a local probate court can lead to an award of attorney’s fees, court costs and damages against him for failing to comply with the Florida Probate Code.
If entrusted with the safekeeping of a Florida resident’s will, you are the legal custodian required to submit the will into probate. A Florida probate court can require you to testify under oath of the authenticity of a decedent’s will. If you provide the court with a false statement, you are guilty of perjury if you knowingly withheld information or knowingly provided false information regarding a document’s authenticity. If you are also the personal representative or executor of a decedent’s will, you will have further legal obligations to pay creditors and to administer the decedent’s estate. As a custodian, once you submit the decedent’s will, the Florida probate court will attempt to locate witnesses who witnessed the decedent’s signing of his will, unless the will is self-proving.
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