Probate is a court-supervised proceeding to oversee the distribution of a deceased person’s estate. In Florida, one of the fundamental steps involved in the probate process is the issuance of a Notice of Administration.
In this article, you will discover what a Notice of Administration is and all the legal requirements involved in the process.
Notice of Administration in Florida – Understanding the Context
Before understanding what notice of administration is, it is essential to know the steps that precede it. When someone dies in Florida owning assets titled solely in his/her name, the decedent’s estate will likely go through probate.
Formal administration is the most traditional (and longest) form of probate in Florida, as it is applied to most cases. The first step is the appointment of a personal representative, which is the individual responsible for administering the decedent’s estate.
The court adjudicating the case will issue Letters of Administration to grant the necessary authority needed by the personal representative to perform any tasks required to execute the estate under the law. Then, the personal representative must issue a Notice of Administration.
What is a Notice of Administration Florida? – As Provided by Law
Essentially, the term “Notice of Administration” refers to the notice given to all interested parties during probate to notify them that the decedent’s estate administration is pending. In the probate jargon, “administration” is the process done to the last will in court.
Florida Statutes §733.212 (1) state that “the personal representative shall promptly serve a copy of the notice of administration on the following persons who are known to the personal representative:
- The decedent’s surviving spouse
- The decedent’s beneficiaries
- The trustee of any trust (as described by Fla. Stat. 733.707(3)) and each qualified beneficiary of the trust (as defined by Fla. Stat. §736.0103), if each trustee is also a personal representative of the estate, and
- Persons who may be entitled to exempt property”
Plus, the same statute adds that “the personal representative may similarly serve a copy of the notice on any devisees (beneficiaries named in the last will) under a known prior will or heirs or others who claim or may claim an interest in the estate.”
In this regard, there are several legal requirements to ensure a Notice of Administration is properly issued. Ultimately, only an expert attorney can provide the necessary legal guidance to guarantee full legal compliance.
What is a Notice of Administration Florida? – Timeframe and Deadlines
When publishing a Notice of Administration, the individuals involved in the execution of an estate subject to probate must pay attention to several deadlines. Most of these deadlines begin once the notice is either published or served on the interested parties.
For instance, a beneficiary may have a strict 90-day period to contest the last will upon receipt of Notice of Administration. The same principle applies to a set of other legal claims to be made during probate.
Once an interested party is served, it is crucial to file a claim within the preset statutory period. Otherwise, the delayed party will likely lose the possibility to file that claim forever.
Also, some periods may be altered by the notice. For example, a surviving spouse may have up to two years to file for an elective share until a Notice of Administration begins to circulate. Yet, after Notice is published and circulating, the statutory period to file for an elective share is much stricter.