Probate: Summary Administration vs. Formal Administration in Florida

If a loved one of yours has recently passed away, you will probably need to help navigate his or her estate through the Florida probate court, which is the venue in which estates are settled. 

When it is determined that your loved one’s estate needs to go through probate, there are generally two options for you: summary administration and formal administration

Formal administration is the standard operating procedure for many estates, while summary administration is reserved only for estates with probate assets that total less than $75,000. Also, estates that belong to decedents who passed away more than two years ago are eligible for summary administration. 

Benefits of Summary Administration

Relative to formal administration, summary administration is more efficient. Where a standard formal probate process usually takes at least four months, a summary administration process often takes 3-5 months (provided no issues arise). When family members of the deceased are acutely aware of the assets and property contained within the decedent’s estate, then summary administration is usually sufficient (as long as the estate is eligible). Because summary administration does not take as long as formal administration, the costs involved are less. 

Disadvantages of Summary Administration

An important thing to note is that summary administration is not always the right choice for an estate – even if that option is available. One reason this could be the case in your situation is if you do not have an accurate idea of the probate assets contained in your loved one’s estate. There is no personal representative in summary administration, which means that the decedent’s family and loved ones have less control over how the estate is settled. Another situation that might warrant formal administration is when the decedent has many creditors who may want a piece of the estate. 

What if the Decedent Had a Will?

A Last Will and Testament is always a good document to have so there is no guesswork when it comes to inheritances and beneficiaries. However, estates with Wills must still pass through probate, generally, and the existence of a Will does not have any bearing on whether the decedent’s loved ones choose summary or formal administration. 

Conclusion

Probate can be a hassle, especially when you’re simply trying to grieve after the death of a loved one. Our firm can take away much of the burdens associated with probate court while ensuring that everything goes smoothly and efficiently. Call us at 305-227-4030 to see how we can help.