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Probate Coordinators help cases flow during difficult circumstances

Jessica Carroll, the probate coordinator in Sarasota County, assists the circuit probate judge with reviewing submitted documents and proposed orders for compliance with regulations and helps to ensure that estates are administered in a timely manner. In this role, the probate coordinator works closely with the judge, judicial assistant and guardianship monitor to address any issues that may arise.

Much of Jessica’s file review involves formal estate administrations, summary administrations and petitions to determine homestead status of real property using the checklists that are available on the Twelfth Judicial Circuit’s website. Another important aspect of Jessica’s job is conducting the initial review of documents in advance of court hearings to verify that there are no deficiencies with the submitted paperwork. The position also involves interacting with attorneys and law firm staff to assist with procedural questions.

The reward that comes from being a probate coordinator is that we are making a huge impact on [a person] during one of the most stressful events in their life.

Elizabeth "Libby" Olson, Probate Coordinator (Manatee County)

Elizabeth “Libby” Olson, the probate coordinator in Manatee County, works independently to assist the probate judge by providing case management and administrative support to the Probate and Guardianship division. Libby’s responsibilities include reviewing probate cases; researching Florida probate rules; drafting proposed orders; setting and attending hearings; and working closely with the probate judge, the judge’s assistant, and other court personnel. Daily tasks include communications with pro se litigants and attorneys to ensure compliance with Florida probate rules and statutes. Libby also reviews daily ex-parte files as received from the Clerk’s office, sending files to the judge for signature and/or further instructions.

“On one occasion, I called a petitioner regarding an estate where the wife had died, I asked to speak to him, and when he replied, ‘I am here, or what’s left of me,’ I really began to understand what people are going through. We are here to help and open to listen during these hard times and we will work hard to make this process as easy as possible,” said Libby.

“The reward that comes from being a probate coordinator is that we are making a huge impact on [a person] during one of the most stressful events in their life. We are helping them through a hard process – the loss of a loved one – which can be an emotional time,” said Libby.