Are Probate Records Public?
Probate is the legal process by which one’s assets are distributed and affairs are settled after their death. One of the commonly asked questions about probate is whether the records are public.
In Florida, probate proceedings can be complex and time-consuming, and it is important to understand the probate process and how it impacts your estate. If you are in the process of creating an estate plan or your loved one has recently died, you need to understand whether probate records are public.
Our Pompano Beach estate and trust litigation lawyer at Mark R. Manceri, P.A., can explain everything you need to know about the probate process. If confidentiality is your concern, our lawyer can help you understand the options that may be available to you to keep your probate proceedings private.
What Are Probate Records?
According to The Florida State Courts System, the term “probate” refers to a court-supervised process for:
- Gathering and identifying the deceased person’s assets;
- Paying the deceased person’s debts; and
- Distributing the deceased person’s assets to the beneficiaries.
Some probate records are legal documents that contain information about the deceased person’s assets, liabilities, and beneficiaries. These records include court filings, and other related documents that reflect the probate case proceedings. Probate records can be useful to surviving family members who are considering legal action or those who simply want to gain an understanding of the probate process.
Are Probate Records Public?
In Florida most probate records are public and anyone can access them. This means that anyone can obtain most of the probate file. The information provided in probate records can help to resolve disputes, reconcile the deceased person’s final affairs, and ensure proper distribution of their assets.
While probate records are public, there are certain limitations. For example, specific information such as bank account numbers, Social Security numbers, and the deceased person’s medical records are not included in the public record. These details can only be accessed by individuals with a legitimate interest in the case, such as the estate’s personal representative or an attorney.
Personal Privacy and Security Concerns
The public nature of probate records can create risks for personal privacy and security. It is vital to understand the risks and take necessary precautions to protect yourself and those impacted by a probate case. For example, a family member or beneficiary might be worried about their sensitive personal information being exposed to the public due to the public nature of probate records.
Therefore, it is important to consider the necessary steps to protect their privacy during the probate case process. Working with an experienced lawyer can also help mitigate these risks and protect against any potential legal action.
Consult with a Lawyer at Mark R. Manceri, P.A.
Probate records are public in Florida, which means anyone can access them. While public access to probate records can facilitate the resolution of disputes and ensure transparency in the probate process, it is important to take necessary precautions to protect one’s privacy and security. If you are dealing with a dispute related to privacy or security, our lawyer at Mark R. Manceri, P.A., can help. Call 954-491-7099 to get a case review.