Probate Explained: The Differences Between Formal and Summary Administration in Florida

How to Get Money Out of a Loved One’s Bank Account After They Pass Away?

Probate Explained

Probate, by definition, is the legal process of distributing or “administering” a deceased person’s estate to their beneficiaries, heirs, and their debtors. Usually, the deceased person’s wishes are carried out using legal estate planning documents like wills and trusts. However, if a deceased person did not have a will or other estate planning documents, their estate will be distributed according to state law and what the probate judge deems fair.

Did you know that there are two types of probate in Florida? There are formal and summary administrations. This blog goes over the basics of what you need to know and the differences between the two.

Formal Administration

  • A formal administration can be used for any kind of estate or if a personal representative is necessary for other reasons.
  • It takes longer to go through formal administration, it will typically cost you more, and it’s a more involved process.
  • One key aspect of formal administrations is that it involves the appointment of a personal representative. This representative will be in charge of securing information about the assets and debts of the decedent.
  • Typically, you would want to go with this route if you expect that there will be a need to go to court over the decedent’s estate, or if the decedent has a lot of known creditors.

Summary Administration

  • An estate is eligible for summary administration if the total value of the decedent’s assets that are subject to probate is $75,000 or less, or if they have been dead for more than two years from the date of filing.
  • Just because the estate is eligible for this does not necessarily mean it is the best choice. Summary administration limits what you can do with the estate.
  • This process may go faster than formal administration.
  • No personal representative is appointed. This makes it substantially more difficult to get through the probate process because there is not one person who is in charge of getting the decedent’s assets and debts together. The assets are directly distributed to the heirs and debtors.

Whether you choose formal or summary administration is up to you. However, there are many legal nuances and pitfalls that could potentially complicate the probate process much more if you try to go through it alone.

Contact Us

When it comes to Florida estates, you should partner with a probate attorney who has dedicated his practice to helping people go through probate. Attorney Justin Stivers is here to serve you, no matter what probate situation you are facing. Let us take the legal aspects of your case off your shoulders and work with you to get your loved one’s affairs in order. Contact or call us at 305-456-3255 today! Hablamos Español!

Author Bio

Justin Stivers is the founder and managing attorney of Stivers Law, an estate planning firm specializing in wills, probate, trust administration, and financial risk management services. Justin’s approach goes beyond just creating legal documents. From aligning investments with estate plans to ensuring comprehensive insurance coverage, he safeguards a client’s legacy from unforeseen circumstances. His commitment extends beyond individual transactions, fostering lifelong partnerships to provide ongoing support and guidance.

With an impressive track record, Justin is licensed by the Florida and the Tennessee State Bars. His professional portfolio boasts Series 65 registration as a Registered Investment Advisor, the Wealth Management Specialist™ designation, and a 2-15 License for Health, Life, and Annuities. His dedication to excellence has earned him positions like Board Member of the Estate Planning Council of Greater Miami, Business Eagle Member of the Florida Justice Association, and active membership in esteemed organizations like the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.

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