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CalAttorney2
CalAttorney2, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 10238
Experience:  Civil litigation attorney for individuals and businesses.
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My 28 year old son was found dead recently. He was single.

Customer Question

My 28 year old son was found dead recently. He was single. We need to get into his apartment to clean it out but the people that run the complex are hesitant to let us in without legal proof that we can do this. It seems to us that a signed and witnessed Cremation Order, along with his birth certificate, showing us as his parents, and our drivers license for identification should be sufficient. We may end up with his apartment key when we get the personal effects mailed to us. If we have the key, can we just go over and clean out the apartment. We have to travel a long distance and want to be sure we can do what we need to do after we get there. Thanks for any advice you can provide.
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 4 months ago.

Hello, My name is ***** ***** I will assist you today. Please give me a few minutes to write a response and identify any additional resources for you.

Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 4 months ago.

Dear Customer,

I am terribly sorry to learn of your loss, please accept my condolences.

Florida law is designed to ensure that the wrong party does not come and take possession of the deceased person's assets (keep in mind, the law is written to cover many situations, not just yours, and there are unfortunately many cases where there is a dispute over who is entitled to the belongings or assets of the estate).

This leads to a somewhat complicated set of rules that blocks the landlord from releasing the property without a court order (issued in probate), or the passage of 60 days (at which time the landlord would take possession of the belongings).

Given the fact that you have long distance travel involved here, I would suggest that you retain a FL attorney for the purpose of filing a probate case for your son (you can do this yourself if you feel confident in completing the paperwork, and then have a process server file the documents with the court - but the cost of having an attorney do this for you is probably worth it simply to ensure it is done properly and to avoid the hassle and to ensure there is no error).

This article here explains the issue in a little more detail, and gives you references to the applicable FL Statutes: http://lieserskaff.com/how-florida-landlords-should-handle-a-deceased-tenants-personal-property/

You can find Florida attorneys local to where your son was living using the State and local Bar Association directories, or private directories such as www.AVVO.com; www.FindLaw.com; or www.Martindale.com (I personally find www.AVVO.com to be the most user friendly).