How many types of Probate are there?
There are several different types of Probate with the longest and most
involved being the formal administration and the shortest and least complicated
being the disposition of personal property without administration.
Disposition of Personal Property without Administration
A Disposition of Personal Property without Administration is used when
there is a surviving spouse or children, and there is nothing in the estate
that requires a formal administration. In Florida, the personal property
in the estate must not exceed the funeral expenses or $6,000. This is
very simple and requires a Petition to be filed with the court. A lawyer
is not necessary for this type of administration.
The next type of administration is a Summary Administration. This type
of administration is done in Florida when the estate, less any exempt
property, is under $75,000 or the decedent has been dead for more than
two years. The filing of a Petition, which lists the specific assets,
their value, and the beneficiaries, starts the Summary Administration.
A corresponding Order of Summary of Administration is submitted with the
exact information that is on the Petition for Administration. Summary
Administrations can be handled in a day in some cases. Notice to creditors
is usually optional, unless it is required by the judge; however, if you
don't publish the notice then the beneficiaries are personally liable
for the decedent's debts up to the amount the person received from
The most comprehensive type of administration is a Formal Administration.
This type of Probate requires the filing of a Petition with a list of
the known assets, their approximate value, and the proposed beneficiaries.
The court will appoint a personal representative or an executor depending
on the state. The court issues letters of administration or letters testamentary.
Further, the personal representative gathers all the information about
the decedent's assets, publishes Notice to creditors, and then sends
that Notice to all known creditors.
The publication period is 90 days in Florida (the period of time creditors
have to file claims against the estate). The personal representative can
object to a claim if he or she believes that it is not a valid claim or
if the claimed amount is too high. If there is an objection, then the
creditor has to file suit. Once the claims period has expired, the personal
representative calculates the claims and determines if there is enough
money to pay the claims. After the claims are paid, then the personal
representative can begin distributing the assets to the beneficiaries.
The claimants and the beneficiaries need to sign releases before they
get any money. Once the estate is distributed, the personal representative
can Petition the court to discharge the estate.
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