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Types of Probate

Formal Administration (Traditional)

  • Required when the assets of the estate exceed $75,000;
  • When the decedent has been deceased for less than two years;
  • When there are unpaid creditors or complicated asset structures;
  • Personal Representative appointed and Letters of Administration issued;
  • Example: Estate valued at $250,000; deceased dying 10/1/2017

Summary Administration (Abbreviated)

  • May occur if assets of the estate are less than $75,000 or consist only of exempt assets
    (homestead, automobile, personal effects);
  • When a decedent has been dead for more than two years;
  • Beneficiaries or heirs of estate act as informal personal representative
  • Example: Homestead property, bank account of $12,000

Disposition Without Administration (No Probate)

  • When decedent has few assets;
  • When final expenses (funeral and last illness) exceed whatever assets decedent had;
  • Payor of expenses is entitled to reimbursement upon presentation of proof of payment
  • Example: Stock account of $4,000; funeral bill of $8,000

Claims of Creditors of Decedent

  • No individual is responsible for the debts of a decedent unless they have chosen to be
  • Personal Representative publishes a Notice to Creditors in a local business newspaper, giving creditors certain amount of time to file claim;
  • Florida Statutes determines which creditors are paid first, if not enough assets in estate;
  • Personal Representative authorized to negotiate claim;
  • Personal Representative may object to claim if there is a legitimate basis for objecting.

Ancillary Administration (Assets in Florida, Decedent Not a Florida Resident)

  • Similar to Formal Administration in that Personal Representative must be appointed;
  • Letters of Ancillary Administration issued;
  • Same duties and responsibilities as Personal Representative as it relates to FL property;
  • Documents from domiciliary estate (home State of decedent) are required to begin Ancillary Administration in Florida;
  • Domiciliary Executor usually appointed as personal representative, if qualified; otherwise court will appoint a new personal representative;
  • No need to be present in Florida unless contest arises
  • Example: NY decedent Snowbird owned Condo in Miami Beach