— Formal Probate Administration is a legal process that is used to settle the estate of a deceased individual in Florida. It is required when the value of the decedent’s assets exceeds $75,000 regardless of whether the decedent had a will. There are, of course, exceptions. For example, a formal Administration may be necessary if the decedent was in the midst of a lawsuit before passing or if the decedent’s Personal Representative (Executor) intends to bring a legal action on behalf of the deceased person.
— The process of opening a Formal Administration involves the court. The judge must appoint a Personal Representative (Executor) who steps into the shoes of the decedent to manage the estate, identify and value assets, pay any outstanding debts or taxes, and so on. Only then may the Personal Representative distribute remaining assets to the beneficiaries or heirs according to law (either the decedent’s will or the laws of intestacy/heirship).
— A Summary Administration is required when the value of the deceased person’s assets less than $75,000, OR, if the decedent passed away two or more years before commencing the administration. This process is faster and less expensive than a Formal Probate Administration; however, it may not be appropriate for more certain estates, depending upon the complexity of the situation.
— A Summary Administration is concluded when the Judge signs the Order Granting Summary Administration, which is a legal document issued by a Florida probate court that allows for the above-described simplified and expedited probate process. This Order confirms that the value of the deceased person’s assets is less than or equal to $75,000, OR that the person has been deceased for more than two years and there are no unresolved creditors’ claims. The Order permits the estate to be concluded without the appointment of a Personal Representative (Executor). An Order Granting Summary Administration instructs the Petitioner to distribute the assets directly to certain parties according to law (the last will and testament of the decedent or according to the laws of intestacy/heirship).
— An Ancillary Administration is the process used to settle the Florida property of a non-Florida resident who owned property in the State of Florida at the time of their death. Even though a probate administration may be initiated or concluded in another state, Florida has jurisdiction of the property located in this state.
— For Example, the deceased person may have owned property or assets located in Florida, such as real estate or certain investments which involve real property. To legally transfer or distribute those assets to the beneficiaries or heirs, it is necessary to initiate an Ancillary Administration in Florida after the primary administration in the home state has commenced. This process ensures that the Florida probate court has jurisdiction over the Florida assets and that all legal requirements are met before distribution.