Keep Your Family’s Future Secure

What is the difference between summary and formal probate?

On Behalf of | May 11, 2020 | Trust And Probate Administration

The probate process is a mysterious one for many. Until you have a loved one whose estate you administer, you may not fully understand the reason behind it or how it works. 

In Florida, there are two ways a will goes through probate court. The path largely depends on the sum of assets in the estate. Discover why probate exists and get an idea of which way the estate may go. 

Filing the will 

When someone dies with a valid will, the value of all his or her assets will determine if the estate must pass through formal probate court. Sometimes, the administrator of a will may not know if the will must go through formal administration. When someone dies in Florida, the law requires the filing of a will within 10 days. This allows the court to decide how to proceed. 

Going through the formal process 

If the deceased’s assets total more than $75,000, the will continues through formal administration. During this process, the administrator must gather and present all evidence of the assets and debts that encumber the estate. A judge then oversees the payment of debts and the disposition of property per the will. It is a lengthy process. There are some assets in an estate that do not go through probate including: 

  • Trusts 
  • Insurance policies 
  • Retirement accounts 
  • Co-owned bank accounts and property 

The court does not require any kind of account with a beneficiary to pass through probate. These assets transfer directly to the intended beneficiary named in the details of the accounts. This includes bank accounts and property the deceased co-owned with someone else. 

Asking for a summary disposition 

When the deceased did not have eligible assets exceeding $75,000, the administrator may file a motion to allow a summary disposition. The filing includes the assets, debts and who is to receive them. A summary disposition may occur within two years of a person’s death. 

Dealing with probate after someone you love passes is not always easy. Understanding how it works may assist in preparing your plan to ease the difficulty for your family.