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Summary or Formal Administration— Does My Estate Qualify?

As the personal representative of someone’s estate, it’s important to understand the probate options available to ensure a smooth process. The two types of probate are formal and summary administration. To qualify for each type of administration, the estate needs to meet specific requirements. Learn more about both types of administration and how an estate qualifies below. 

What is Summary Administration? 

Summary administration is a simplified probate process for small estates. Summary probate is typically less expensive and can be completed more quickly than formal administration.

How to Qualify for Summary Administration 

Florida Statute 735.021 discusses the requirements for summary administration. For an estate to qualify, it must meet any of the following conditions: 

  • The estate is valued at less than $75,000 (minus exempt assets and property).
  • The decedent passed away more than two years ago.
  • Creditors are barred from making claims against the estate. 
  • There are no valid creditor claims on the estate.
  • The decedent’s only assets are exempt from creditor claims.

Filing for Summary Administration

You can petition for summary administration at any stage of the probate process once it’s known whether the estate qualifies. Here are the steps for filing for summary administration: 

Petition

A beneficiary or representative can request summary probate when the estate qualifies. Supporting documentation is required to verify the estate’s value.

Creditor Search and Disclosure 

To qualify for summary administration, you must certify that you’ve made a reasonable effort to search for creditors and found no eligible parties. You’ll need to provide documentation to prove your efforts.

Asset Distribution 

Once you’ve affirmed that you’ve made a creditor search, a probate judge will grant the summary administration order. This order enables the distribution of assets directly to the beneficiaries listed in the will. The beneficiaries can present this order to relevant institutions such as banks, insurance companies, and mortgage brokers to receive their rightful assets.

What is Formal Administration? 

Formal administration is the most commonly used type of probate and is the process of executing a will. It’s suitable for large estates that have multiple creditors and beneficiaries. Formal administration can take at least six months and up to a year to complete, depending on the complexity of the estate. During formal administration, the decedent’s will is validated, creditors can make claims on the estate for any outstanding debts, and assets are distributed to beneficiaries.

Qualifying for Formal Administration 

All estates with probatable assets exceeding $75,000 require formal administration. This also applies if the estate’s value is less than $75,000, but the will has been challenged.

Filing for Formal Administration

To file for formal administration, you’ll bring documentation like the death certificate and the will to a probate attorney. The attorney will then file a Petition of Administration with the local probate court in the county where the decedent resided. The probate judge will confirm the will’s validity and grant the named personal representative the legal authority to execute it.

 Estate Administration with Every & Stack 

Our law firm can help you administer your loved one’s estate and determine whether it qualifies for summary or formal administration. It’s important to understand that you have options. We can assist with estate administration for estates in Daytona Beach, Florida, and surrounding areas. Call us at 386-255-1925 to get started.

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