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, effective immediately, 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.

ZOOM hearings

Contested Hearings: Non-Evidentiary

Zoom Hearings shall be scheduled as delineated per requirements above. Judge Moreland will be hosting a morning and afternoon session, Monday through Thursday. The morning session blocks shall run from 8:30 a.m. to noon, and the afternoon session blocks from 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Zoom Hearing credentials, for purposes of notices, are posted on Judge Moreland's Zoom Hearings page. 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.

Contested Hearings: Evidentiary
  1. Zoom Hearings shall be scheduled as delineated per requirements above.  Judge Moreland will be hosting a morning and afternoon session, Monday through Thursday. The morning session blocks shall run from 8:30 a.m. to noon, and the afternoon session blocks from 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Zoom Hearing credentials, for purposes of notices, are posted on Judge Moreland's Zoom Hearings page.  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.
  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 respondent/defendants uses letters).
  3. The court will record an exhibit list concerning admitted evidence if no clerk is present. Everything submitted, whether formally admitted or not, will go to the clerk for filing.

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 and 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 Probate & Guardianship Requirements Effective July 1, 2021

Please refer to the Court’s regular requirements for additional information not contained in these Court requirements.

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 parties must indicate on their Notice if it is an in-person hearing, or a Virtual /Telephonic hearing and provide all of the necessary details to the court at least 3 days prior to the 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.

Wednesday
  • 9:30-10:00 a.m. Virtual/Remote ex parte hearings (scheduled on the JACS calendar)
  • 10:00 – 10:30 Virtual/Remote ex parte hearings (scheduled on the JACS calendar)
  • 10:30 Order to Show Cause Hearings (telephonic during Phase 3)
  • 11:00 – 11:30 Virtual/Remote hearings (scheduled on the JACS calendar)
  • 11:30 – 12 Noon Court Set Emergency Hearings
Thursday
  • 9:30-10:00 a.m. Virtual/Remote ex parte hearings (scheduled on the JACS calendar)
  • 10:00 – 11:30 Virtual/Remote ex parte hearings (scheduled on the JACS calendar)
  • 11:30 – 12 Noon Court Set Emergency Hearings

Zoom/Telephone Hearing Policy Effective July 1, 2021

For Remote Hearings 15 Minutes or Less in Length:

Judge Williams prefers that all remote hearings which are 15 minutes or less in length and are uncontested and non-evidentiary shall be conducted telephonically.  We emphasize that it is the scheduling attorney’s responsibility to arrange the necessary conference call and coordinate with all the required parties to the hearing.  

However, if the parties wish to appear by Zoom video, please note Effective July 1, Judge Williams will appear via Zoom video at hearings 15 minutes or less in length without prior approval.  No witnesses shall be called and no evidence shall be introduced. Parties shall use their own Zoom account and shall designate one person to host the Zoom event.  Parties must provide all of the necessary details to the court at least 3 days prior to the hearing.

For Remote Hearings in excess of 15 Minutes in length:

Parties wishing for Judge Williams to appear via Zoom video for contested matters more than 15 minutes in length shall contact the judicial assistant: lfudge@jud12.flcourts.org


Zoom Protocols and Procedures:

  1. For parties appearing by Zoom:  the parties shall use their own Zoom accounts and shall designate one person to host the Zoom event.
  2. For hearings in excess of 15 minutes: Parties wishing for Judge Williams to appear via Zoom video for contested matters more than 15 minutes in length shall contact the judicial assistant.
  3. Zoom hearings shall:
    1. Be non-evidentiary, unless the parties have stipulated to the introduction of documents and evidence in advance.
    2. If witnesses are to be called: parties shall stipulate to the witnesses being sworn by the Court, or the parties shall make arrangements in advance for witnesses to be sworn in accordance with existing Supreme Court Administrative Orders.
  4. Contested matters in excess of 1 hour where the parties have not stipulated to the introduction of documents and evidence in advance may be held in – person upon the motion of the parties and the approval of Judge Williams.  The Court will review the motion without a hearing.  If a hearing is required the judicial assistant will coordinate a hearing for the motion to be heard with the parties.
    Unless stipulated to by the parties, no witnesses shall be called and no evidence shall be introduced for these hearings.

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.
 

Circuit Probate Division H

Judge Hunter Carroll

PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

Effective June 21, 2021, these Court events will be in-person in the Courthouse: jury trials, nonjury trials, evidentiary hearings exceeding 1 hour, and interpersonal violence injunction hearings (e.g., Domestic Violence, Stalking, etc.). The parties by motion may seek an alternate appearance method. These Court events will be held in Courtroom H, R.L. Anderson Administration Building, 4000 S. Tamiami Trail, Venice, Florida 34293.

All other hearings can be in-person, by Zoom, or both at the discretion of the party.

Judge Carroll is testing a hybrid Courtroom, meaning that Judge Carroll can conduct Court with parties appearing in-person and remotely via Zoom simultaneously. This is not (yet) a circuit wide set-up, and most Judges in the Twelfth Circuit do not have access to a hybrid courtroom at this time.

For any hearing before Judge Carroll that is 1 hour in length or less the parties may appear in-person in Courtroom H or remotely via Zoom without any special request and without notification to the Court. The parties by motion may seek an alternate appearance method. Please do not contact the Court’s Judicial Assistant to notify the Court whether parties intend to appear remotely via Zoom or in-person as each party has the discretion to choose which appearance method that party prefers.

When drafting a Notice of Hearing for a hearing less than 1 hour in length, you must include Judge Carroll’s Zoom credentials (see Judge Carroll’s requirements) and explain that the parties may appear in-person or remotely.

Without exception, exhibits for evidentiary hearings as well as indexes/exhibit lists must be delivered to the Courthouse in two hard-copy sets (one for the Judge and one for the Clerk) at least two days prior to the evidentiary hearing. Plaintiff/Petitioner’s exhibits are to be numbered, i.e. “1, 2, 3…” and Defendant/Respondent’s exhibits are to be lettered, “A, B, C…” This is, of course, the same procedure to be followed for trial exhibits.

UMC hearings will continue to be set through contacting the Court’s Judicial Assistant.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Judge Carroll was lenient did not enforce normal Court attire. Effective June 21, 2021, normal Court attire will be requested whether appearing in-person or remotely via Zoom before Judge Carroll.

SCHEDULE HEARINGS