Formal Administration:  Formal Administration is required when the probate estate is greater than $75,000 and when the decedent has been dead for two years or less. The probate estate only consists of assets owned by the decedent at the time of his or her death.

Assets That Do Not Pass Through Probate:

  • Property with a named beneficiary

  • Jointly owned property

  • Assets held in a revocable or living trust

    The formal probate process involves appointment of a qualified personal representative. The duties and powers of the personal representative are set forth in the Florida statutes. Creditors must be notified and given an opportunity to present their claims to the personal representative. Once the creditors have been satisfied, then the personal representative must distribute the assets to the beneficiaries.  The formal probate process can take anywhere from 4-6 months to many years, depending on the specific circumstances. 

Summary Administration: Florida law provides for summary administration as an alternative probate procedure other than the formal administration process.  Summary Administration is generally available only in two situations: if the value of the estate subject to probate in Florida is not more than $75,000 or that the decedent has been deceased for more than 2 years. Those who receive the estate assets in a summary administration generally remain liable for claims against the decedent for two years after the date of death. 

Disposition of Personal Property without Administration: Florida law provides that disposition of personal property without administration can be used as an abbreviated alternative other than the formal administration process.   Disposition of personal property without administration involves the filing of one pleading in which the court will issue an order. This option is only available if the decedent had only exempt personal property and non-exempt property that does not exceed in value the sum of preferred funeral expenses ($6,000 max). Also the decedent must have reasonable and necessary, medical and hospital expenses of the last 60 days of illness. 

Ancillary Administration: Ancillary Administration is usually necessary when the decedent dies owning property within the state of Florida and a primary probate has been commenced in another state.  In the alternative, the same is true if the decedent died in Florida owning property in another state.

Homestead Exceptions: A homestead exemption reduces the taxable value of real property by up to $25,000. It is an ad valorem tax exemption provided by Florida law for qualified residents who own and reside on the property as their permanent residence. Properties that receive the homestead exemption qualify under the “Save Our Homes” Amendment and may realize additional benefits.

The following criteria will help you determine if you qualify for an exemption:

  • Individuals only qualify for homestead exemption. (business entities are not eligible)

  • The document establishing your ownership as of January 1st must be recorded in Collier County Public Records before your exemption can be approved.

  • As of January 1 of the year for which you are filing: – You must be a permanent resident of Florida.

For further information, please contact the Mantzidis Law Group today!   (239) 438-4609