Probate: Summary Administration vs. Formal Administration

What is probate?

Probate is the process by which a will is submitted to the court and its validity is established. The court accepts the will as a valid document if it meets all the proper requirements set forth in the Florida Statutes. The court then supervises the process of identifying all the assets of the decedent, paying off any debts, and distributing the assets to the beneficiaries.

Summary Administration vs. Formal Administration

Summary Administration in Florida is a form of probate for smaller estates. To qualify as a summary administration, the estate must contain:

  • Less than $75,000 in assets (typically assets other than the decedent’s homestead – which are not counted as assets), or
  • At least 2 years have passed since the date of death

Summary administrations are generally a quick process, usually completed within 3-5 months, and are less costly.

Formal Administration is the most common form of probate in Florida. To qualify as a formal administration, the estate must:

  • Exceed $75,000 in assets (remembering that homestead is excluded), or
  • Less than 2 years have passed since the date of death

Formal administrations may take anywhere between 6 months to 1 year to complete, and possibly longer if there are numerous creditors or assets.

In a formal administration, the court appoints the personal representative who administers the estate as set forth in the Florida Statutes. In a nutshell, the personal representative satisfies any debts owed to creditors, and then proceeds to distribute the remaining assets to the beneficiaries.

Understanding the differences between the two forms of administration, and which is best for your particular situation, is something your attorney can help you determine.

Call us today for a free consultation.

The Law Offices of Tara David, P.A.

2401 East Atlantic Blvd., Suite 200

Pompano Beach, FL 33062

E-mail: [email protected]


Tel.: 954-951-7274

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