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Handling probate proceedings in Florida

On Behalf of | Dec 16, 2022 | Estate Administration |

When you die, your estate will go through probate. Probate is the legal process in which your property is passed on to your heirs. Your estate will go through probate if you have a will or if you die intestate (without a will).

There are two basic probate proceedings in Florida. One is formal administration. The second is summary administration.

What is formal administration?

Formal administration is a type of probate proceeding that is filed when the deceased’s estate is worth more than $75,000 and/or the court must assign someone to serve as personal representative.

The personal representative is responsible for collecting the assets of the estate. Following that, the personal representative will pay the debts and taxes of the deceased out of estate assets. Finally, the personal representative will distribute what is left to the rightful heirs of the deceased.

The court oversees the formal administration process. However, under Florida Probate Rules, a personal representative must retain an attorney to represent them while they execute their duties.

What is summary administration?

Summary administration is a simpler probate proceeding than formal administration.

Summary administration is a type of probate proceeding that is filed when one of two conditions are met. Either the value of the estate does not exceed $75,000 excluding exempt property or the deceased has been gone for more than two years ago, and their estate was never probated.

There is no personal representative in a summary administration. Heirs claim their inheritance by filing an affidavit.

Formal probate is important, complex

Formal probate is important. It provides a standard means for ensuring everyone’s estate is legally processed so heirs can receive their inheritance.

Formal probate is also complex. A personal representative must perform many unfamiliar duties. For this reason, Florida requires a personal representative to retain legal representation throughout the process.