Grieving the loss of a loved one is never easy. The last thing you should worry about during this emotional time is navigating the legal process for administering their estate, especially in Florida, where probate can become complicated quickly. To help make this daunting ordeal more manageable and offer you peace of mind, the Denise Jomarron Legal Group has compiled an essential guide on everything you need to know about the three types of probate in Florida.
If you have additional questions about probate, call our team at (305) 402-4494 to schedule your free 20-minute strategy session. We understand this is a challenging time for your family, and we’re here to help you settle the affairs of your loved one and guide you through the probate process.
What Is Probate?
Probate is a legal process whereby the court distributes a deceased person’s assets to their respective heirs. Florida has three types of probate. Here, we’ll outline the different probate proceedings in our state and what they might mean for you and your family.
The Three Types of Probate in Florida
Determining the type of probate that applies to your loved one’s assets depends on several factors, including the size of the estate, how long they have been deceased, and where they lived when they died.
1. Formal Estate Administration
Formal estate administration is a time-consuming and potentially costly process that can take months and sometimes over a year.
To qualify for formal administration:
- Assets must exceed $75,000 not accounting for exempt property.
- The probate process must start within two years following your loved one’s passing.
Assets that qualify for probate include any non-homestead property in Florida or elsewhere but don’t necessarily include the entirety of your loved one’s estate. Many assets don’t have to go through probate, such as:
- Shared bank accounts
- Jointly owned real estate
- Assets titled in a living trust
- Life insurance with a named beneficiary
An experienced Florida probate lawyer can advise you which of your loved one’s assets qualify for formal estate administration and which don’t.
2. Summary Estate Administration
Summary estate administrations are quicker and more budget-friendly types of probate in Florida. Your loved one’s assets may be eligible for summary administration if:
- The total value of the assets is under $75,000, including exempt property.
- Your loved one passed away more than two years before the probate filing.
In a summary estate administration, any interested person, usually through the help of a probate attorney, may file a petition with the court, which lists all assets and a plan for distribution to the beneficiaries. If the petition complies with all relevant requirements, the court usually approves the plan, and the distribution process can begin.
3. Ancillary Estate Administration
Ancillary estate administration or probate may be sufficient when your loved one lived out of state but owned property in Florida, such as a vacation home. The main estate administration takes place in the county and state in which the deceased person had their main residence. Most of the probate process occurs in the other state, and the ancillary administration only concerns Florida-based assets.
In most cases, you, the personal representative, or other beneficiaries don’t need to travel to Florida; a Florida probate lawyer can open and manage the ancillary probate for you.
What Is Disposition Without Administration?
Strictly speaking, disposition without administration isn’t a form of probate, but it’s often referred to as one. It happens in rare cases when your loved one left a modest estate that lacks the funds to reimburse the individuals or entities who paid their final expenses and medical bills from the last 60 days of their life.
You can use your loved one’s estate to pay these bills without incurring the additional expense of a summary administration.
Common Stages in All Types of Probate in Florida
All types of probate in Florida undertake the following steps:
- Ensure that your loved one’s Last Will and Testament, if any, complies with state law.
- Create a complete inventory of your loved one’s assets, including bank accounts, investments, real estate, vehicles, jewelry, valuable artwork, collectibles, and more.
- Notify your loved one’s creditors and give them a chance to collect their dues.
- Distribute any remaining assets to the beneficiaries according to your loved one’s wishes pursuant to their Last Will and Testament or pursuant to state law if they passed intestate, which means without a Last Will and Testament.
Do You Need an Attorney for Probate in Florida?
You will generally need the help of a Florida probate attorney, especially if you are going through formal, summary, or ancillary estate administration. These are complicated and potentially time-consuming, and costly proceedings. A single misstep can set you back by weeks or even months.
Speak to a Compassionate Florida Probate Attorney Today to Guide You Through the Probate Process
At Denise Jomarron Legal Group, we know how difficult it is to lose a loved one. We’ll take it one step at a time to guide you through the types of probate in Florida to settle your loved one’s estate. Have you been searching for “probate attorney near me?” Call us at (305) 402-4494 or complete our online form to schedule your free 20-minute strategy session.
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The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.
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4300 Biscayne Blvd., Suite 305
Miami, FL 33137-3255