After a person passes away, his or her estate will generally go through probate. This is the process of legally passing the person's assets on to others and resolving the various financial elements. The probate process can be confusing and overwhelming, particularly when people are also struggling with grief and loss.
Having some understanding of what to expect from the process can make it a little easier to navigate. While every case is different, and there are situations in which it is possible to avoid probate, assets will be subject to one of the following types of probate administration.
Estates will go through formal administration procedures, unless they are eligible for alternatives. Generally, formal administration consists of close court supervision and follows the standard, specific process of opening, administering and closing the estate.
Formal administration is often the process through which sizable or complex estates will go for resolution.
This type of administration is generally shorter with a simplified legal process. However, there is no personal representative assigned in these cases and parties must already have an accounting of the decedent's assets before filing.
Estates that contain less than $75,000 in assets (non-exempt) may be eligible for summary administration. Cases involving a decedent that passed more than two years ago may also be eligible.
Disposition of Personal Property Without Administration
In cases where a decedent leaves only personal property, courts may not require supervised probate administration or formal proceedings as long as the property is exempt from creditor claims or does not exceed the cost of funeral expenses and recent hospital or medical bills.
This post is intended to provide a general idea of the different options for probate administration in Florida. For more specific information as well as guidance and legal advice, interested parties can consult a knowledgeable estate planning attorney.