2020 REVIEW: How to Choose between Formal Administration or Summary Administration in Florida

In 2 by Long

Over the last 16 years or so, I have been advising clients on their Florida Probate options after a loved one has died. I’ve got a handful of posts here, here and here but I realize the roadmap needs some reinforcement and perhaps some reorganization.

In a nutshell:

Formal Administration = Traditional Probate

  • A Personal Representative (Executor) is actually appointed
  • You receive Letters of Administration (LOA) which allow you to find/confirm assets, negotiate with creditors and generally administer and handle all necessary tasks needed to close out the estate. Think of LOA’s the same way you think of a Power of Attorney (POA). The difference is you can’t use a POA after someone has died.
  • Eligibility: ALL estates are eligible for Formal Administration. If the estate has assets valued at $75,000 or more (and it’s been less than 2 years since date of death), you must use Formal Admin.

Summary Administration = Abbreviated Probate

  • A Personal Representative is not appointed.
  • The court issues orders directly distributing the assets.
  • You are not granted Letters of Administration to go searching for assets, demanding information or negotiating with creditors. In fact, you are granted no powers whatsoever. You are simply receiving distribution of precisely described assets.
  • Eligibility: Estates with assets valued at $75,000 or less (OR where more than 2 years have passed since date of death) can be put through Summary Administration.

There is a more complex analysis warranted in EVERY potential probate matter and sometimes, probate might not even be necessary. Reach out to a Florida Probate Attorney to discuss your case – don’t move forward without a complete understanding of your options.

See also the ULTIMATE GUIDE to your Florida Probate options!