Losing a loved one is a painful experience, but it also brings about a number of administrative tasks. You’ll likely have to arrange the funeral, notify other family members and friends, and settle your loved one’s estate. The fact that the decedent chose you as executor is a testament to their confidence in your abilities.
Florida has two main probate processes: Formal administration and summary administration. Factors such as the size of the estate, types of assets, amount of time since the decedent’s passing and where the decedent was living at the time of death all affect which probate procedure should apply.
However, if the decedent left only a very small amount that is not subject to creditor claims, disposition without administration is a noncourt supervised option. This is technically not a probate procedure since there is no estate to administer.
Formal administration is also known as regular probate, as it is the most common way to manage an estate. This type of probate generally applies to larger and more complex estates. It requires assets exceeding $75,000 and must begin within two years following the decedent’s passing.
Because formal administration often involves a number of beneficiaries, assets and debts, it can be time-consuming and costly. This process can take months to a year to complete.
Summary administration is a simpler process. Instead of having to go through a full, court-supervised administration process, assets transfer directly to beneficiaries. As a result, the probate process can finish in one to two months.
To qualify for summary administration, the estate’s value must not exceed $75,000, and the process must start before two years have elapsed since your loved one’s death.
Factors such as being unable to locate a beneficiary, a contested will, tax issues and assets located outside the state can delay the probate process. You may also unintentionally cause the process to take longer than expected by missing deadlines or failing to abide by the Florida probate code.
Dealing with probate while still grieving a loss can be stressful. Working with a probate attorney might be a good idea. That way, you’ll have someone to entrust some of the probate proceedings, communicate with beneficiaries, and ensure everything is in order.