An Overview of Summary and Formal Administration in Florida
In Florida, there are two different methods of probate administration: summary administration and formal administration. Below are brief overviews of both:
Summary administration is a probate shortcut that’s an option if the death occurred at least two years ago or if the value of the probate estate — including all property that would go through probate — is less than $75,000. This process makes it easier for people dealing with small estates to get through the probate process quickly.
To begin summary administration, the person serving as the estate executor files a Petition for Summary Administration. If there is a surviving spouse, he or she must verify that petition. If any of the beneficiaries do not sign the petition, the executor must formally serve that beneficiary with notice of the filing. The petition includes a statement that the estate qualifies for summary administration and lists all assets, their values and who will inherit them.
Formal administration is the standard probate process, used if the estate does not qualify for simpler administration methods. The process begins when the executor asks the court to be officially appointed as the personal representative for the estate.
Next, the court issues a Letter of Administration, giving the representative authority to settle the estate. The will must then be filed with the court and proven to be valid, typically by having witnesses give sworn statements regarding its validity. Once the will is confirmed as valid, the executor can start collecting and distributing assets and settling any debts and taxes. After all assets have been distributed, the personal representative files receipts with the court and asks the estate to be closed.
To learn more about the probate administration process in Florida, meet with an experienced estate planning lawyer at The Charles Law Offices.