As provided by Florida law, summary administration happens when the value of the entire estate subject to probate, less the value of property exempt from the claims of creditors, does not exceed $75,000 or the decedent has been dead for more than two years.
Besides, all other estates will probably be formally administered. In this article, you will find a detailed comparison between summary and formal administration in Florida.
Summary Administration vs. Formal Administration in Florida – Taking a Closer Look
When compared to formal probate proceedings, summary administration is always more expedited (usually three to six months). Plus, the process is streamlined, less expensive, and less complicated when compared to formal administration.
However, nothing is perfect – neither is summary administration. In formal administration, a personal representative (or executor) is appointed by the probate court to execute to estate and given authority to proceed accordingly.
Hence, the personal representative has the authority to request all necessary information when identifying, locating, and gathering the assets that are part of the estate subject to probate.
In summary administration, no personal representative is appointed. Hence, requesting and accessing information regarding the assets subject to probate might result in heavy scrutiny or no access at all.
Many entities are legally bound to withhold specific information unless the person requesting it was appointed as a personal representative. Without a personal representative, there are no letters of administration.
Typically, the nonexistence of letters of administration may become a burden when you need to negotiate with a bank, deal with the IRS, sell a property before distribution, etc. Plus, if the estate is subject to litigation, responding in court is much more difficult without letters of administration.
Initially, the advantage of formal administration is the appointment of a personal representative. This individual(s) (or these, depending on the case) has court-given authority to access and secure information regarding the decedent’s assets.
Hence, no entity may deny the request for information made by a personal representative during probate. Additionally, the court will issue letters of administration, which will facilitate a set of procedures throughout the probate process.
Besides, personal representatives have the authority to notify and respond to creditors, which includes negotiating outstanding debt(s), objecting to unfeasible claims to the decedent’s estate, and paying owed amounts using the assets held within the estate.
In cases involving litigation, the personal representative is the only person with authority to fight diligently in court to defend the estate against legal attacks – which is not the case in summary administration.
Yet, formally administering someone’s estate involves longer timeframes (typically, six to eighteen months), more costs, and more paperwork. Currently, the costs of formal administration in Florida easily surpass the $500 threshold.
It is worth noting that a timeframe between six to eighteen months applies to standard cases. Under extraordinary circumstances – probate litigation, for instance – this timeframe may be largely extended. Plus, no estate may be closed while litigation is pending.
Which Administration Type Should I Choose in Florida? – Contact Your Florida Probate Lawyer Today
It is impossible to evaluate all the crucial variables involved in probate without the guidance of an expert legal advisor. Every case is different; hence, no one-size-fits-all approach will suffice. Waste no time – call Attorneys Romy B. Jurado and Diana C. Collazos at (305) 921-0976 or email Romy@juradolawfirm.com to schedule a consultation.