What are the Different Types of Probate and Estate Proceedings in Florida?
Updated: May 18
Florida has several options for managing estates. The right option for your family depends on the assets in your loved one's estate.
Probate is a court-supervised process for identifying and gathering the assets of a deceased person (decedent), paying the decedent's debts, and distributing the decedent's assets to his or her beneficiaries.
There are several different types of probate proceedings and estate administration processes for distributing a decedent’s assets. Let’s talk about them in an order ranging from most formal to least formal.
As its name suggests, formal administration is the most formal of the probate proceedings. In Florida, formal administration is required when the value of the probate estate (less the value of property exempt from the claims of creditors) is more than $75,000. Formal administration is appropriate in cases when there is a last will and testament and also when there is not.
In a formal administration, the court appoints a personal representative to manage the estate. Unless the personal representative is the only interested person in the estate, the personal representative must be represented by an attorney admitted to practice in Florida.
Formal administration is governed by §§733.101 to 733.903, Florida Statues.
A summary administration is a less formal, abbreviated estate proceeding that is available if the value of the entire probate estate is not more than $75,000 OR if the decedent has been dead for more than two years. No personal representative is appointed in a summary administration.
Summary administration is governed by §§735.201 to 735.2063, Florida Statues.
Disposition of Personal Property without Administration
A disposition of property without administration is an unsupervised administrative proceeding used to request the release of assets of the deceased to reimburse the person who paid the final expenses, such as funeral or medical bills.
A disposition without administration is limited to situations where the decedent dies with only certain kinds of personal property. Estates with real property do not qualify for this process. The following personal property qualifies:
1) Household furniture, furnishings, and appliances valued at $20,000 or less;
2) Two automobiles;
3) Certain qualified tuition programs; and
4) Non-exempt property that is not more than the value of the funeral expenses (up to $6,000) and any hospital expenses from the 60 days prior to death.
Disposition of personal property without administration is governed by §733.301, Florida Statues.
An ancillary administration is appropriate if a non-Florida resident dies leaving Florida property that does not pass by title or operation of law, including real or personal property, credits due from Florida residents or liens on Florida property. Ancillary administration can be used whether a person dies with or without a last will and testament.
Ancillary administration is governed by §§734.101 to 734.202, Florida Statues.