Part I Summary Administration 735.201 – 735.2063
Part II Disposition of Personal Property Without Administration 735.301 – 735.302

Terms Used In Florida Statutes > Chapter 735

  • Affidavit: A written statement of facts confirmed by the oath of the party making it, before a notary or officer having authority to administer oaths.
  • Allegation: something that someone says happened.
  • Amendment: A proposal to alter the text of a pending bill or other measure by striking out some of it, by inserting new language, or both. Before an amendment becomes part of the measure, thelegislature must agree to it.
  • Annuity: A periodic (usually annual) payment of a fixed sum of money for either the life of the recipient or for a fixed number of years. A series of payments under a contract from an insurance company, a trust company, or an individual. Annuity payments are made at regular intervals over a period of more than one full year.
  • Answer: The formal written statement by a defendant responding to a civil complaint and setting forth the grounds for defense.
  • Appeal: A request made after a trial, asking another court (usually the court of appeals) to decide whether the trial was conducted properly. To make such a request is "to appeal" or "to take an appeal." One who appeals is called the appellant.
  • Appellate: About appeals; an appellate court has the power to review the judgement of another lower court or tribunal.
  • Appropriation: The provision of funds, through an annual appropriations act or a permanent law, for federal agencies to make payments out of the Treasury for specified purposes. The formal federal spending process consists of two sequential steps: authorization
  • Arraignment: A proceeding in which an individual who is accused of committing a crime is brought into court, told of the charges, and asked to plead guilty or not guilty.
  • Arrest: Taking physical custody of a person by lawful authority.
  • Assets: (1) The property comprising the estate of a deceased person, or (2) the property in a trust account.
  • Attorney for the alleged incapacitated person: means an attorney who represents the alleged incapacitated person. See Florida Statutes 744.102
  • Audit: means a systematic review of financial and all other documents to ensure compliance with…. See Florida Statutes 744.102
  • Bail: Security given for the release of a criminal defendant or witness from legal custody (usually in the form of money) to secure his/her appearance on the day and time appointed.
  • Bankruptcy: Refers to statutes and judicial proceedings involving persons or businesses that cannot pay their debts and seek the assistance of the court in getting a fresh start. Under the protection of the bankruptcy court, debtors may discharge their debts, perhaps by paying a portion of each debt. Bankruptcy judges preside over these proceedings.
  • Beneficiary: A person who is entitled to receive the benefits or proceeds of a will, trust, insurance policy, retirement plan, annuity, or other contract. Source: OCC
  • Case law: The law as laid down in cases that have been decided in the decisions of the courts.
  • Chief judge: The judge who has primary responsibility for the administration of a court but also decides cases; chief judges are determined by seniority.
  • Clerk: means the clerk or deputy clerk of the court. See Florida Statutes 744.102
  • Clerk of court: An officer appointed by the court to work with the chief judge in overseeing the court's administration, especially to assist in managing the flow of cases through the court and to maintain court records.
  • Codicil: An addition, change, or supplement to a will executed with the same formalities required for the will itself.
  • Common law: The legal system that originated in England and is now in use in the United States. It is based on judicial decisions rather than legislative action.
  • Complaint: A written statement by the plaintiff stating the wrongs allegedly committed by the defendant.
  • Continuance: Putting off of a hearing ot trial until a later time.
  • Contract: A legal written agreement that becomes binding when signed.
  • Conviction: A judgement of guilt against a criminal defendant.
  • Corporate guardian: means a corporation authorized to exercise fiduciary or guardianship powers in this state and includes a nonprofit corporate guardian. See Florida Statutes 744.102
  • Corporation: A legal entity owned by the holders of shares of stock that have been issued, and that can own, receive, and transfer property, and carry on business in its own name.
  • Court: means the circuit court. See Florida Statutes 744.102
  • Court monitor: means a person appointed by the court under…. See Florida Statutes 744.102
  • Cross examine: Questioning of a witness by the attorney for the other side.
  • Damages: Money paid by defendants to successful plaintiffs in civil cases to compensate the plaintiffs for their injuries.
  • Decedent: A deceased person.
  • Defendant: In a civil suit, the person complained against; in a criminal case, the person accused of the crime.
  • Dependent: A person dependent for support upon another.
  • Devise: To gift property by will.
  • Discovery: Lawyers' examination, before trial, of facts and documents in possession of the opponents to help the lawyers prepare for trial.
  • Dismissal: The dropping of a case by the judge without further consideration or hearing. Source:
  • Donee: The recipient of a gift.
  • Donor: The person who makes a gift.
  • Embezzlement: In most states, embezzlement is defined as theft/larceny of assets (money or property) by a person in a position of trust or responsibility over those assets. Embezzlement typically occurs in the employment and corporate settings. Source: OCC
  • Equitable: Pertaining to civil suits in "equity" rather than in "law." In English legal history, the courts of "law" could order the payment of damages and could afford no other remedy. See damages. A separate court of "equity" could order someone to do something or to cease to do something. See, e.g., injunction. In American jurisprudence, the federal courts have both legal and equitable power, but the distinction is still an important one. For example, a trial by jury is normally available in "law" cases but not in "equity" cases. Source: U.S. Courts
  • Escheat: Reversion of real or personal property to the state when 1) a person dies without leaving a will and has no heirs, or 2) when the property (such as a bank account) has been inactive for a certain period of time. Source: OCC
  • Estate: means the property of a ward subject to administration. See Florida Statutes 744.102
  • Evidence: Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
  • Fair market value: The price at which an asset would change hands in a transaction between a willing, informed buyer and a willing, informed seller.
  • Fee simple: Absolute title to property with no limitations or restrictions regarding the person who may inherit it.
  • Felony: A crime carrying a penalty of more than a year in prison.
  • Fiduciary: A trustee, executor, or administrator.
  • Fiscal year: The fiscal year is the accounting period for the government. For the federal government, this begins on October 1 and ends on September 30. The fiscal year is designated by the calendar year in which it ends; for example, fiscal year 2006 begins on October 1, 2005 and ends on September 30, 2006.
  • Foreign guardian: means a guardian appointed in another state or country. See Florida Statutes 744.102
  • Forgery: The fraudulent signing or alteration of another's name to an instrument such as a deed, mortgage, or check. The intent of the forgery is to deceive or defraud. Source: OCC
  • Fraud: Intentional deception resulting in injury to another.
  • Gift: A voluntary transfer or conveyance of property without consideration, or for less than full and adequate consideration based on fair market value.
  • Guardian: means a person who has been appointed by the court to act on behalf of a ward's person or property, or both. See Florida Statutes 744.102
  • Guardian: A person legally empowered and charged with the duty of taking care of and managing the property of another person who because of age, intellect, or health, is incapable of managing his (her) own affairs.
  • Guardian ad litem: means a person who is appointed by the court having jurisdiction of the guardianship or a court in which a particular legal matter is pending to represent a ward in that proceeding. See Florida Statutes 744.102
  • Guardian advocate: means a person appointed by a written order of the court to represent a person with developmental disabilities under…. See Florida Statutes 744.102
  • Incapacitated person: means a person who has been judicially determined to lack the capacity to manage at least some of the property or to meet at least some of the essential health and safety requirements of the person. See Florida Statutes 744.102
  • Indictment: The formal charge issued by a grand jury stating that there is enough evidence that the defendant committed the crime to justify having a trial; it is used primarily for felonies.
  • Injunction: An order of the court prohibiting (or compelling) the performance of a specific act to prevent irreparable damage or injury.
  • Intangible property: Property that has no intrinsic value, but is merely the evidence of value such as stock certificates, bonds, and promissory notes.
  • Inter vivos: Transfer of property from one living person to another living person.
  • Intestate: Dying without leaving a will.
  • Joint tenancy: A form of property ownership in which two or more parties hold an undivided interest in the same property that was conveyed under the same instrument at the same time. A joint tenant can sell his (her) interest but not dispose of it by will. Upon the death of a joint tenant, his (her) undivided interest is distributed among the surviving joint tenants.
  • Jurisdiction: (1) The legal authority of a court to hear and decide a case. Concurrent jurisdiction exists when two courts have simultaneous responsibility for the same case. (2) The geographic area over which the court has authority to decide cases.
  • Lawsuit: A legal action started by a plaintiff against a defendant based on a complaint that the defendant failed to perform a legal duty, resulting in harm to the plaintiff.
  • Lease: A contract transferring the use of property or occupancy of land, space, structures, or equipment in consideration of a payment (e.g., rent). Source: OCC
  • Liabilities: The aggregate of all debts and other legal obligations of a particular person or legal entity.
  • Lien: A claim against real or personal property in satisfaction of a debt.
  • Life estate: A property interest limited in duration to the life of the individual holding the interest (life tenant).
  • Limited guardian: means a guardian who has been appointed by the court to exercise the legal rights and powers specifically designated by court order entered after the court has found that the ward lacks the capacity to do some, but not all, of the tasks necessary to care for his or her person or property, or after the person has voluntarily petitioned for appointment of a limited guardian. See Florida Statutes 744.102
  • Litigation: A case, controversy, or lawsuit. Participants (plaintiffs and defendants) in lawsuits are called litigants.
  • manage property: means to take those actions necessary to obtain, administer, and dispose of real and personal property, intangible property, business property, benefits, and income. See Florida Statutes 744.102
  • minor: includes any person who has not attained the age of 18 years. See Florida Statutes 88.6011
  • Minor: means a person under 18 years of age whose disabilities have not been removed by marriage or otherwise. See Florida Statutes 744.102
  • Misdemeanor: Usually a petty offense, a less serious crime than a felony, punishable by less than a year of confinement.
  • Mortgage: The written agreement pledging property to a creditor as collateral for a loan.
  • National Bank: A bank that is subject to the supervision of the Comptroller of the Currency. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is a bureau of the U.S. Treasury Department. A national bank can be recognized because it must have "national" or "national association" in its name. Source: OCC
  • Next of kin: means those persons who would be heirs at law of the ward or alleged incapacitated person if the person were deceased and includes the lineal descendants of the ward or alleged incapacitated person. See Florida Statutes 744.102
  • Nolo contendere: No contest-has the same effect as a plea of guilty, as far as the criminal sentence is concerned, but may not be considered as an admission of guilt for any other purpose.
  • Nonprofit corporate guardian: means a nonprofit corporation organized for religious or charitable purposes and existing under the laws of this state. See Florida Statutes 744.102
  • oath: includes affirmations. See Florida Statutes 88.6011
  • Obligation: An order placed, contract awarded, service received, or similar transaction during a given period that will require payments during the same or a future period.
  • Office of Economic and Demographic Research: means an entity designated by joint rule of the Legislature or by agreement between the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. See Florida Statutes 88.6011
  • Oversight: Committee review of the activities of a Federal agency or program.
  • Partnership: A voluntary contract between two or more persons to pool some or all of their assets into a business, with the agreement that there will be a proportional sharing of profits and losses.
  • Permanent appropriation: Budget authority that becomes available as the result of previously enacted legislation (substantive legislation or prior appropriations act) and does not require current action by the legislature. Budget authority is considered to be "current" if provided in the current session of the legislature and "permanent" if provided in prior sessions.
  • person: includes individuals, children, firms, associations, joint adventures, partnerships, estates, trusts, business trusts, syndicates, fiduciaries, corporations, and all other groups or combinations. See Florida Statutes 88.6011
  • Personal property: All property that is not real property.
  • Plaintiff: The person who files the complaint in a civil lawsuit.
  • Plea: In a criminal case, the defendant's statement pleading "guilty" or "not guilty" in answer to the charges, a declaration made in open court.
  • Plea agreement: An arrangement between the prosecutor, the defense attorney, and the defendant in which the defendant agrees to plead guilty in exchange for special considerations. Source:
  • Pleadings: Written statements of the parties in a civil case of their positions. In the federal courts, the principal pleadings are the complaint and the answer.
  • Plenary guardian: means a person who has been appointed by the court to exercise all delegable legal rights and powers of the ward after the court has found that the ward lacks the capacity to perform all of the tasks necessary to care for his or her person or property. See Florida Statutes 744.102
  • Power of attorney: A written instrument which authorizes one person to act as another's agent or attorney. The power of attorney may be for a definite, specific act, or it may be general in nature. The terms of the written power of attorney may specify when it will expire. If not, the power of attorney usually expires when the person granting it dies. Source: OCC
  • Preneed guardian: means a person named in a written declaration to serve as guardian in the event of the incapacity of the declarant as provided in…. See Florida Statutes 744.102
  • Probable cause: A reasonable ground for belief that the offender violated a specific law.
  • Probate: Proving a will
  • Probation: A sentencing alternative to imprisonment in which the court releases convicted defendants under supervision as long as certain conditions are observed.
  • Probation officers: Screen applicants for pretrial release and monitor convicted offenders released under court supervision.
  • Professional guardian: means any guardian who has at any time rendered services to three or more wards as their guardian. See Florida Statutes 744.102
  • Property: means both real and personal property or any interest in it and anything that may be the subject of ownership. See Florida Statutes 744.102
  • Prosecute: To charge someone with a crime. A prosecutor tries a criminal case on behalf of the government.
  • Real property: Land, and all immovable fixtures erected on, growing on, or affixed to the land.
  • registered mail: include certified mail with return receipt requested. See Florida Statutes 88.6011
  • Remainder: An interest in property that takes effect in the future at a specified time or after the occurrence of some event, such as the death of a life tenant.
  • Restitution: The court-ordered payment of money by the defendant to the victim for damages caused by the criminal action.
  • Right of survivorship: The ownership rights that result in the acquisition of title to property by reason of having survived other co-owners.
  • Sentencing guidelines: A set of rules and principles established by the United States Sentencing Commission that trial judges use to determine the sentence for a convicted defendant. Source: U.S. Courts
  • serious bodily injury: means an injury to a person which creates a substantial risk of death, serious personal disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member or an organ. See Florida Statutes 744.3145
  • Service of process: The service of writs or summonses to the appropriate party.
  • Settlement: Parties to a lawsuit resolve their difference without having a trial. Settlements often involve the payment of compensation by one party in satisfaction of the other party's claims.
  • Standby guardian: means a person empowered to assume the duties of guardianship upon the death or adjudication of incapacity of the last surviving natural or appointed guardian. See Florida Statutes 744.102
  • Statute: A law passed by a legislature.
  • Subpoena: A command to a witness to appear and give testimony.
  • Summons: Another word for subpoena used by the criminal justice system.
  • Surrogate guardian: means a guardian designated according to…. See Florida Statutes 744.102
  • Tenancy by the entirety: A type of joint tenancy between husband and wife that is recognized in some States. Neither party can sever the joint tenancy relationship; when a spouse dies, the survivor acquires full title to the property.
  • Testate: To die leaving a will.
  • Testify: Answer questions in court.
  • Testimony: Evidence presented orally by witnesses during trials or before grand juries.
  • Totally incapacitated: means incapable of exercising any of the rights enumerated in…. See Florida Statutes 744.102
  • Transcript: A written, word-for-word record of what was said, either in a proceeding such as a trial or during some other conversation, as in a transcript of a hearing or oral deposition.
  • Trial: A hearing that takes place when the defendant pleads "not guilty" and witnesses are required to come to court to give evidence.
  • Trustee: A person or institution holding and administering property in trust.
  • Venue: The geographical location in which a case is tried.
  • Ward: means a person for whom a guardian has been appointed. See Florida Statutes 744.102
  • White-collar crime: A nonviolent criminal act involving deceit, concealment, subterfuge, or other fraudulent activity.
  • Writ: A formal written command, issued from the court, requiring the performance of a specific act.
  • writing: includes handwriting, printing, typewriting, and all other methods and means of forming letters and characters upon paper, stone, wood, or other materials. See Florida Statutes 88.6011