Probate - Formal & Summary Administration

The attorneys and staff at The Preston Law Firm have the experience you need to guide and assist you through the process of finalizing your loved one’s estate either through formal probate administration, summary administration, or by simply giving you advice regarding the steps necessary to ensure assets are properly and effectively transferred as a process of law (i.e. Pay-on-Death, Transfer-on-Death, and other similar designations).

Definitions & FAQ's

Probate - Formal Administration

Probate is the legal process whereby a decedent’s estate is finalized. This usually includes (1) the appointment of a Personal Representative, (2) the gathering and protection of the decedent’s assets, (3) the determination of creditors and payment of any legitimate creditor, and ultimately (4) the distribution of the assets to the beneficiaries – this process is often referred to as Formal Administration. Please see below for an explanation of Summary Administration.

Summary Administration

Summary Administration is the short and cheap version of Formal Administration. In Summary Administration, a Personal Representative is not appointed. Instead, the Petitioner simply (1) gathers the assets, (2) does his or her best to determine any known creditors, and (3) petitions the Court to enter an order effectively distributing the assets and ensuring the payment of creditors. This process is available if either (1) the estate is worth less than $75,000, or (2) the decedent passed away more than 2 years prior to the filing of the petition.

How long does Probate last?

Formal Administration may be a lengthy process. From the date of filing the petition, Formal Administration will usually take anywhere from 9 to 12 months. Of course, these times may vary drastically depending on the nature of the estate.

Summary Administration is a different story. From the date of filing the petition, Summary Administration will usually take approximately 30 days.

Is Probate expensive?

Formal Administration will usually cost approximately 3% of the value of the estate in attorneys’ fees, 3% of the value of the estate in Personal Representative’s fees, and approximately $750 in costs. Chapter 733 of The Florida Statutes contains detailed guidelines for attorney¬†(733.6171)¬†and personal representative¬†(733.617) fees. At The Preston Law Firm, we will discuss these percentages and guidelines with you as well as an hourly (and often times more fair) rate.

Summary Administration is usually much cheaper and is not subject to the same guidelines as Formal Administration. As such, reasonable fees are determined based on the complexity of the administration. Usually, attorneys’ fees for Summary Administration are around $1,750, plus court and other costs of about $400, plus $90 for an optional publication of a Notice to Creditors.

If you have more questions or would like to calendar a free consultation, please contact us:

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