Posted on October 18, 2012 in Wills and Probate
Estate Administration begins with three questions:
1. Did the decedent have a Last Will and Testament? If there is a will, there will be testate administration in which the Last Will and Testament will govern and determine who is appointed Personal Representative and how the assets are distributed. If there is not a will, intestate sucession under which the Florida Statutes (the law) will govern and determine who has priority to be Personal Representative and which classes of heirs stand first in line to receive distribution.
2. Where was the decedent domiciled at the time of death? The main or domiciliary estate Administration will occur in the county in which the decedent was domiciled at the time of death.
3. What are the probate assets, that is, what were the assets in the decedent’s name alone at the time of death? For non-probate assets such as joint assets, life insurance assets, and trust assets, there is generally no need for estate administration. But, for probate assets, that is assets that are in the name of the decedent alone (including causes of action that the decedent may have), there is generally a need for estate administration.
There are also certain factors that are important in determining the best type of estate administration, most importantly the total value of estate assets. If the total assets exceed $75,000, generally formal administration is needed in which a Personal Representative is appointed and has the time and other flexibility to discover assets and discover debts and fully administer the estate. If the total assets are less than $75,000 or if the decedent has been dead more than two years, summay administration may be available. However, summary administration is less flexible, because you need to exactly list the assets and debts on the Petition for Summary Administration and the Order of Summary Administration will only govern distribution of those listed assets. In addition, provision for debt must be made in the petition and order.
For very small estates where the total value does not exceed the amount of preferred funeral expenses and reasonable and necessary medical
and hospital expenses of the last 60 days of the last illness (plus $1,000), there may be an administration available called "Disposition of Personal Property without Administration" that a client may be able to work with the Clerk of Court without the need for an attorney.
In conclusion, these are general estate administration summaries subject to exception. Please contact me, Bill Hornbeck, at (727) 345-3788 to discuss your specific needs and situation. Thank you.
This blog summarizes estate administration. It lists the types of estate administration. It discusses the effect of a Will or lack of a Will on estate administration. It covers what are probate assets and what are not probate assets for determining what will be included in the estate administration.