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Daytona Beach Lawyers > Blog > Probate & Guardianships > Formal Vs. Summary Administration: What Is The Difference?

Formal Vs. Summary Administration: What Is The Difference?


Probate is a court-supervised legal process during which the courts identify and collect the property of someone who has passed away, ensures their debts are paid, and distributes remaining assets to beneficiaries. There are two different types of probate in Florida and they are formal administration and summary administration.

Formal administration is the traditional form of probate. This involves opening a probate estate and appointing a personal representative. Summary administration in Florida is a streamlined form of probate. Summary administration does not require a personal representative and so, it is faster and less expensive. While these are the basic differences of formal and summary administration, there are others, as well. Below, our Daytona Beach probate lawyer explains in greater detail.

The Formal Administration Probate Process 

The majority of estates in Florida must go through the formal administration probate process. There are many steps involved in formal administration and they are as follows:

  • Collect estate planning documents,
  • Execute documents by beneficiaries,
  • Appoint a personal representative to oversee and handle the administration,
  • Publish a notice the creditors of the decedent,
  • File the inventory of the estate,
  • Place all liquid assets into a restricted account in the name of the deceased,
  • Determine the homestead,
  • Prepare final tax returns,
  • Liquidate property, if necessary,
  • Pay creditors,
  • Distribute property to beneficiaries, and
  • Close the estate.

One of the biggest benefits of the formal administration probate process is the appointment of a personal representative. This individual is the only person who has the authority to act on behalf of the estate, defend lawsuits against the estate, and take other legal actions.

The Summary Administration Probate Process 

The summary administration probate process is not appropriate for all estates. Summary administration is only a possibility when an estate is valued at $75,000 or less, or the decedent passed away two or more years ago. Summary administration also involves certain steps and they include:

  • Execute documents by beneficiaries,
  • Publish notice to creditors if two years have not passed since the decedent’s death and if there is a homestead property,
  • Determination of homestead, and
  • Distribute funds to beneficiaries and creditors as per the order of the court.

The summary administration probate process typically costs somewhere between $400 and $500, which is much more affordable than formal administration. Summary administration also only takes approximately three to six months, unless there are extraordinary circumstances, such as another person contesting the will. In these cases, a summary administration must convert to formal administration. Probate, regardless of the type, cannot be closed until all litigation has ended.

Our Probate Lawyer in Daytona Beach Can Help You Through the Process 

If you need to go through the probate process, our Daytona Beach probate lawyer can provide the legal advice you need and help you through the process. At Bundza & Rodriguez, our experienced attorney can advise on which process is best for the estate and handle the legal details of the case to make it as easy as possible for you. Call us today at 386-252-5170 or chat with us online to schedule a consultation and to learn more about how we can help.

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