There are two options for administering an estate, Formal Administration and Summary Administration. In addition to these forms of administration, there is a more simple proceeding called Disposition of Personal Property without Administration.
Formal Administration is the more involved of the three proceedings. It can take 6-12 months or more to complete. Summary Administration is a shorter form of estate administration. Pursuant to F.S. ? 735.201, Summary Administration may be used when it appears: the value of the entire estate subject to administration does not exceed $75,000.00 or that the decedent has been dead for more than 2 years.
Dispostion of Personal Property without Administration
Pursuant to F.S. ? 735.301, Disposition of Personal Property without Administration can be used when the value of the decedent's assets does not exceed the sum of the amount of funeral expenses and reasonable and necessary medical and hospital expenses of the last 60 days of the decedent's last illness.
What is the difference between testate and intestate?
Testate means that the decedent died leaving a legally valid will. If the decedent dies without a legally valid will, his or her assets will be distributed based on Florida intestacy rules. Intestacy rules identify the decedent's heirs, and determine their share of the estate.
What happens to the will?
Whether an estate is administered or not, the custodian of the will must deposit it with the clerk of court in the county where the decedent resided, within ten days of learning of the testator's death.
What assets go through probate?
Assets owned in the decedent's sole name at death are probate assets. In addition to assets owned solely by the decedent, assets owned by the decedent and a co-owner that do not have rights of survivorship are also probate assets. For example, a bank account titled in just the decedent's name is a probate asset, but a bank account owned by the decedent with someone else or with a payable on death designation, is not a probate asset.
What is a Personal Representative?
In Florida, the term Personal Representative is used instead of "executor." The Personal Representative is the person, bank or trust company who is responsible for the administration of the decedent's estate. The Personal Representative works with an attorney to administer the probate estate pursuant to Florida law. In summary, a Personal Representative identifies probate assets, safeguards the assets, pays any creditors, and distributes the assets to the beneficiaries.
Why does the Personal Representative need an attorney?
Pursuant to Rule 5.030(a), every Personal Representative, unless the Personal Representative remains the sole interested person, shall be represented by an attorney admitted to practice in Florida. The attorney drafts the necessary pleadings and advises the Personal Representative on their rights and duties under the law.