What is Probate?
Probate is the process by which the court identifies and gathers a decedent’s assets. Through the probate process, all taxes, claims, and expenses are paid, and assets are distributed among beneficiaries. The probate code can be found in Title XLII of the Florida Statutes. There are two types of probate administration, Formal Administration and Summary Administration.
What is Formal Probate Administration?
Formal Probate Administration is the required proceeding when Summary Administration is either not appropriate or not selected by the interested parties. A personal representative is required for Formal Probate Administration.
What is Summary Probate Administration?
Summary Probate Administration is a shortened proceeding to administer an estate. Summary administration is allowed if more than two years have elapsed since the date of decedents death, or if the assets involved total LESS than $75,000. A personal representative is not required for Summary Probate Administration. However, the beneficiaries of a summary administration remain responsible for all creditor claims that are discovered in a timely fashion.
What are considered assets in Probate Administration?
Probate assets are those items of value that were owned solely by the decedent. These assets must not have a provision for automatic succession, other wise they will not be considered probate assets. For example, bank accounts, real estate (but not the homestead property), and a life insurance payable to the decedent’s estate are all probate assets, but trust funds, joint bank accounts, life insurance policies payable to an individual, or real estate owned jointly would not be.