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Formal Administration 

As the name suggests, this type of proceeding is the standard form of probate and by far the most common. Formal probate administration takes place in Circuit Court of the County in which the decedent resided at the time of their death. The process starts once an individual passes away and the executor of the will (or other interested party) petitions to be appointed as personal representative of the decedent’s estate. The beneficiaries named in the estate are then provided notice and given a chance to raise any formal objection(s).


Summary Administration 

This form of probate is available when the total value of property/assets going through probate court is valued at $75,000 or less. Summary Administration may also be used when it involves a death that occurred over two years ago. This expedited type of administration is initiated by filing a Petition for Summary Administration that must be signed by a surviving spouse and/or beneficiaries.


Do all estates require probate? 

All estates do not go through probate in Florida. If a person passes away without a will or trust and has assets in their name ONLY, then probate is required to distribute property and monies. If property, bank accounts, insurance policies, annuities, 401K plans, and all assets have beneficiaries or joint owners, probate is unnecessary.


What Assets Go Through Probate? 

In Florida, it’s easier to list assets that don’t go through probate. Assets properly within a living trust, property that is shared through a “joint tenancy,” life insurance policies, and retirement accounts can potentially avoid probate.


How long does probate take?

This will depend on a variety of factors such as: the size of the estate, whether or not there’s an estate plan, if there’s a dispute with creditor(s) or beneficiaries, the quality of legal counsel, etc. With that said, it’s reasonable to expect the average Florida probate process to take between 6 to 12 months.

Do I need an attorney?

The short answer is yes. In the State of Florida, it’s legally required to have an attorney represent you during a probate hearing in all except in a few rare circumstances.

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