Oct 262015
 

When a loved one passes, starting the probate process can seem like a daunting task. You may hear the terms “formal administration” or “summary administration” and not know what they mean or what the difference is.

In layman’s terms, a formal administration is a full administration of the estate. Generally, you need to do a formal administration when the estate’s assets are greater than $75,000 excluding homestead property (basically the descendant’s primary residence) or when required in the Last Will and Testament. A formal administration takes more time, around six months to more than a year to complete, and cost more than a summary administration.

A summary administration is generally faster and less expensive than a formal administration.   If the estate is less than $75,000 excluding homestead property or the descendant has been dead for more than two years, a summary administration might be a better option.

However, even if the estate qualifies for summary administration, there are times it is not a better option, such as:

  • Minor Beneficiaries– If some of the beneficiaries are minors, the court might want a guardianship established to handle the minor beneficiaries’ property. However, the personal representative of a formal administration could avoid this through the Florida Uniform Transfers to Minors Act.
  • Missing Heir– You cannot probate an estate with a missing heir via a summary administration. You must use a formal administration.
  • Uncooperative Beneficiaries– If beneficiaries are being uncooperative with each other, a formal administration may be needed to sale property and finalize the estate.

To discover the best probate method for your circumstances, please contact one of our attorneys today.