Types of Estate Administration in Florida

Each probate case is different. Minuscule but crucial variables in a case can easily be overseen and the wrong type of administration for the decedent’s estate can be chosen. To avoid this, I suggest that you discuss the facts of your case with a probate and estate planning attorney before choosing the administration of a decedent’s estate. An attorney can assist you in determining which type of administration is more appropriate according to the facts of your case.

If you decide to select the administration of a decedent’s estate without consulting an attorney, it will be your responsibility to select the appropriate proceeding for your situation. The staff of the Probate Court may not and will not make this determination for you. Furthermore, neither the court nor the county can accept responsibility for incorrect decisions made by the court’s staff. Your best choice to assure and informed decision regarding the administration of a decedent’s estate is to seek assistance of a probate and estate planning attorney.

Formal Administration:  This is the most common administration of the different kinds of types of Florida probate proceedings. Like any other type of administration, formal administration can vary depending on the size of decedent’s estate, asset profile, number of creditors, and whether any disputes are involved. The following are the steps that may be involved in a formal probate administration:
1.    Deposit the will with the court (if there is a will)
2.    Petition for administration
3.    Appointment of personal representative
4.    Petition to open safe deposit box
5.    Validity of the will
6.    Control of decedent’s assets
7.    Interim accounting
8.    Final accounting
9.    Closing of the estate
10. Reopening of the estate (if applicable. i.e. more property is discovered)

Summary Administration: This administration is a type of probate proceeding for small estates. Summary administration may be used in the administration of the estate of either a resident or a nonresident of Florida. To be eligible, decedent’s estate must contain less than $75,000 in non-exempt assets (usually, assets other than the decedent’s home) OR at least two years have passed since the date of decedent’s death.

Ancillary Administration:  Ancillary administrations are for secondary probate administrations when the decedent’s primary estate was in another state, but there was also real property in Florida. Ancillary administrations follow the same procedures as a summary administration or formal administration depending on the date of death, the value of the real property, and whether a personal representative is necessary.

Disposition of Personal Property Without Administration: This type of probate can only be used when the assets are less than the funeral bills and last medical expenses, and it is available only under the following circumstances:
·      Decedent’s estate consists solely of property classified as exempt from the claims of the decedent’s creditors by applicable law and non-exempt personal property, the value of which does not exceed the total of (1) up to $6,000 in funeral expenses; and (2) the amount of all reasonable and necessary medical and hospital expenses incurred in the last 60 days of the decedent’s illness.

Besides helping you select the appropriate administration for your situation, an attorney can assist you in filling up the forms of the selected procedure. This comes handy since the court’s staff is only authorized to answer basic questions about the forms, but not specific questions about your case. Therefore, an attorney is your best option to receive accurate advice regarding the appropriate administration of the decedent’s estate and the procedure involved in it. For a probate and estate planning attorney, call the Jacksonville Probate lawyers & counselors  at (904) 685 – 1200 or click the “Contact Us” tab at the beginning of the page.

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