Circuit Probate Court

The Probate Division of the Circuit Court has jurisdiction of proceedings relating to the settlement of the estates of decedents and minors, the granting of wills, guardianship, involuntary hospitalization, and the determination of competency. The Probate Division also has jurisdiction over proceedings relating to the Jimmy Ryce Act (sexual predator) and hears all jury trials and hearings regarding these matters.

Guardianship

A guardian is a surrogate decision-maker appointed by the court to make either personal and/or financial decisions for a minor or for an adult with mental or physical disabilities. After adjudication, the subject of the guardianship is termed a "ward."

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Circuit Probate

Judge Don T. Hall

 

Circuit Probate Judge Diana L. Moreland

In Person and Electronic Appearances

Because of recent changes ordered by Chief Judge Roberts, until further notice, hearings must be conducted via Zoom technology unless the Judge determines that either the interests of justice, mission essential or constitutional issue based on return to masks in court, require the proceeding to be conducted In Person.  Notices already done do not need to be redone.

**See more changes effective January 2022 below**

ZOOM hearings

Ex Parte Hearings

Unless otherwise noted on the court’s monthly calendar, Ex Parte Hearings will be held on Monday through Thursday at 8:30 a.m. before the Probate & Guardianship Judge in Courtroom 5D either via zoom or in person.

Ex Parte hearings shall be uncontested, non-evidentiary and 5 min. or less in length. These hearings are not scheduled through the Judicial Assistant or through JACS. The attorney desiring an Ex Parte hearing shall email to the Probate Coordinator, the Petition, Notice of Hearing, proposed Order(s) and all other relevant documents. The e-mail subject line shall include the case style, petition and date of hearing. All documents shall be emailed in one .pdf attachment to the Probate Coordinator at probatemanatee@jud12.flcourts.org no later than noon, on the business day immediately preceding the hearing, NO exceptions. No telephone appearances are permitted. Counsel will comply with Florida Rules of Civil Procedure and applicable case law in terms of motions and notices.

Contested Hearings: Non-Evidentiary

If a hearing is scheduled during one of the two daily session blocks you will use the Zoom Hearing credentials for ALL hearings scheduled during that session block, regardless of your particular scheduled hearing time. Zoom hearing credentials, for the purposes of notices, are posted at www.jud12.flcourts.org.

Effective January 2022 and until further notice, only ONE Zoom credential will be utilized for the entire day.

Contested Hearings: Evidentiary
  1. If a hearing is scheduled during one of the two daily session blocks you will use the Zoom Hearing credentials for ALL hearings scheduled during that session block, regardless of your particular scheduled hearing time. Zoom hearing credentials, for the purposes of notices, are posted at www.jud12.flcourts.org.
  2. All evidence MUST be submitted and marked at least five (5) business days prior to the hearing. Attorneys should use the same numbering/lettering system the clerk uses when marking evidence (Petitioners/Plaintiffs uses numbers and Respondents/Defendants uses letters).
  3. The Court will record an exhibit list concerning admitted evidence if no clerk is resent. Everything submitted, whether formally admitted or not, will go to the clerk for filing.
  4. Effective January 2022 and until further notice, only ONE Zoom credential will be utilized for the entire day.

Telephonic Appearances

Telephonic Hearings less than fifteen (15) minutes

Are allowed on non-evidentiary hearings 15 minutes or less in length. The Court will not initiate the call. The attorney wishing to appear telephonically will call the judicial assistant at (941)749-3617 at the scheduled hearing time. Requests to appear by phone MUST be by written motion, accompanied by an Order, at least five (5) business days prior to the hearing. The motion and Order shall include: the date, time and subject of the hearing. There are multiple hearings scheduled at the same time, and telephone hearings are usually taken last, therefore your hearing may not be at the exact hour. Please review Fla.R.Jud.Admin 2.530.

Telephonic Hearings fifteen (15) minutes or longer

If there are legitimate economic or technological reasons a party cannot use the Zoom platform with audio and video engaged a request to appear telephonically MUST be advanced. The Court will not initiate the call. The attorney wishing to appear telephonically will call the Judicial Assistant at (941) 749-3617 at the scheduled hearing time. Requests to appear by phone MUST be by motion, accompanied by an Order, at least five (5) business days prior to the hearing. The motion shall include the date, time, subject, and legitimate reasons why the Zoom platform is unavailable. There are multiple hearings scheduled at the same time, and telephone hearings are usually taken last, therefore your hearing may not be at the exact hour.

Conference Calls

The court does not have the ability to call more than one phone number at a time. If more than one person would like to appear by phone, the parties must make the necessary arrangements for a conference call to take place. The attorneys must provide a conference call phone number and login on the JACS system, as well as on the Notice of Hearing.

Judge Diana Moreland

SCHEDULING HEARINGS
 

Sarasota/Venice Probate and Guardianship Requirements Effective January 1, 2022

The Court’s requirements have been updated effective January 1, 2022. Please review the requirements in their entirety.

Unless stipulated to by the parties, the following hearings shall take place in person:

  1. Hearings on Do Not Resuscitate Orders
  2. Hearings for the Appointment of Emergency Temporary Guardian
  3. Final Guardianship hearings
  4. Hearings on Petition for Injunction Against Exploitation of a Vulnerable Adult

These hearings can be scheduled on the court’s calendar without court approval, however the telephonic or Zoom credentials must be provided to the court at the time of scheduling on the JACS calendar and shall be additionally provided on the Notice of Hearing.

EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY: Due to the recent increase in COVID-19 cases, the Court has temporarily suspended its hybrid In-Person/Virtual Court Schedule. All ex parte hearings and special set hearings shall be conducted virtually/remotely until further notice.


Circuit Probate

Judge Charles E. Williams

Need help to determine if you need a court ordered guardianship? Visit www.turning18.org, a free non-profit guide to assist families in addressing their legal options as their children with autism, cerebral palsy, down syndrome, and other intellectual and developmental disabilities, reach the legal age of adulthood.