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The Florida Statutes

The 2020 Florida Statutes

Title XLII
ESTATES AND TRUSTS
Chapter 735
PROBATE CODE: SMALL ESTATES
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F.S. 735.303
735.303 Payment to successor without court proceedings.
(1) As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Family member” means:
1. The surviving spouse of the decedent;
2. An adult child of the decedent if the decedent left no surviving spouse;
3. An adult descendant of the decedent if the decedent left no surviving spouse and no surviving adult child; or
4. A parent of the decedent if the decedent left no surviving spouse, no surviving adult child, and no surviving adult descendant.
(b) “Qualified account” means a depository account or certificate of deposit held by a financial institution in the sole name of the decedent without a pay-on-death or any other survivor designation.
(2) A financial institution in this state may pay to the family member of a decedent, without any court proceeding, order, or judgment, the funds on deposit in all qualified accounts of the decedent at the financial institution if the total amount of the combined funds in the qualified accounts at the financial institution do not exceed an aggregate total of $1,000. The financial institution may not make such payment earlier than 6 months after the date of the decedent’s death.
(3) In order to receive the funds described in subsection (2), the family member must provide to the financial institution a certified copy of the decedent’s death certificate and a sworn affidavit that includes all of the following:
(a) A statement attesting that the affiant is the surviving spouse, adult child, adult descendant, or parent of the decedent.
1. If the affiant is an adult child of the decedent, the affidavit must attest that the decedent left no surviving spouse.
2. If the affiant is an adult descendant of the decedent, the affidavit must attest that the decedent left no surviving spouse and no surviving adult child.
3. If the affiant is a parent of the decedent, the affidavit must attest that the decedent left no surviving spouse, no surviving adult child, and no surviving adult descendant.
(b) The date of death and the address of the decedent’s last residence.
(c) A statement attesting that the total amount in all qualified accounts held by the decedent in all financial institutions known to the affiant does not exceed an aggregate total of $1,000.
(d) A statement acknowledging that a personal representative has not been appointed to administer the decedent’s estate and attesting that no probate proceeding or summary administration procedure has been commenced with respect to the estate.
(e) A statement acknowledging that the affiant has no knowledge of the existence of any last will and testament or other document or agreement relating to the distribution of the decedent’s estate.
(f) A statement acknowledging that the payment of the funds constitutes a full release and discharge of the financial institution’s obligation regarding the amount paid.
(g) A statement acknowledging that the affiant understands that he or she is personally liable to the creditors of the decedent and other persons rightfully entitled to the funds under the Florida Probate Code, to the extent the amount paid exceeds the amount properly attributable to the affiant’s share.
(h) A statement acknowledging that the affiant understands that making a false statement in the affidavit may be punishable as a criminal offense.
(4) The family member may use an affidavit in substantially the following form to fulfill the requirements of subsection (3):

AFFIDAVIT UNDER
SECTION 735.303, FLORIDA STATUTES,
TO OBTAIN BANK PROPERTY OF DECEASED
ACCOUNT HOLDER:   (Name of decedent)  

State of    

County of    

Before the undersigned authority personally appeared   (name of affiant)  , of   (residential address of affiant)  , who has been sworn and says the following statements are true:

(a) The affiant is (initial one of the following responses):

  The surviving spouse of the decedent.

  A surviving adult child of the decedent, and the decedent left no surviving spouse.

  A surviving adult descendant of the decedent, and the decedent left no surviving spouse and no surviving adult child.

  A surviving parent of the decedent, and the decedent left no surviving spouse, no surviving adult child, and no surviving adult descendant.

(b) As shown in the certified death certificate, the date of death of the decedent was   (date of death)  , and the address of the decedent’s last residence was   (address of last residence)  .

(c) The affiant is entitled to payment of the funds in the decedent’s depository accounts and certificates of deposit held by the financial institution   (name of financial institution)  . The total amount in all qualified accounts held by the decedent in all financial institutions known to the affiant does not exceed an aggregate total of $1,000. The affiant requests full payment from the financial institution.

(d) A personal representative has not been appointed to administer the decedent’s estate, and no probate proceeding or summary administration procedure has been commenced with respect to the estate.

(e) The affiant has no knowledge of any last will and testament or other document or agreement relating to the distribution of the decedent’s estate.

(f) The payment of the funds constitutes a full release and discharge of the financial institution regarding the amount paid.

(g) The affiant understands that he or she is personally liable to the creditors of the decedent and other persons rightfully entitled to the funds under the Florida Probate Code, to the extent the amount paid exceeds the amount properly attributable to the affiant’s share.

(h) The affiant understands that making a false statement in this affidavit may be punishable as a criminal offense.

By   (signature of affiant)  

Sworn to and subscribed before me this   day of   by   (name of affiant)  , who is personally known to me or produced   as identification, and did take an oath.

  (Signature of Notary Public - State of Florida)  

  (Print, Type, or Stamp Commissioned Name of Notary Public)  

My commission expires:   (date of expiration of commission)  

(5) The financial institution is not required to determine whether the contents of the sworn affidavit are truthful. The payment of the funds by the financial institution to the affiant constitutes the financial institution’s full release and discharge regarding the amount paid. A person does not have a right or cause of action against the financial institution for taking an action, or for failing to take an action, in connection with the affidavit or the payment of the funds.
(6) The family member who withdraws the funds under this section is personally liable to the creditors of the decedent and any other person rightfully entitled to the funds under the Florida Probate Code, to the extent the amount paid exceeds the amount properly attributable to the family member’s share.
(7) The financial institution shall maintain a copy or an image of the affidavit in accordance with its customary retention policies. If a surviving spouse or descendant of the decedent requests a copy of the affidavit during such time, the financial institution may provide a copy of the affidavit to the requesting surviving spouse or descendant of the decedent.
(8) In addition to any other penalty provided by law, a person who knowingly makes a false statement in a sworn affidavit given to a financial institution to receive a decedent’s funds under this section commits theft, punishable as provided in s. 812.014.
History.s. 2, ch. 2020-110.