What Is The Difference Between Formal Administration And Summary Administration?



Video Summary


What is the difference between a formal administration and a summary administration? Well first, both of those are probate proceedings and that's probably a four-letter word to most folks in that they don't want to spend any money on lawyers or pay the government any money. A lot of that has been blown out of proportion, I think, over the years by the Reader's Digest where they say that the government takes half the money and the lawyers take the other half, and it takes them six years to do it. In Florida, that is not the case. First, there are no estate taxes in Florida and furthermore the attorney fees can be negotiated. The statutes suggest that an attorney fee for handling an estate is 3% of the assets that are being probated and that usually has to do with the formal administration.


Formal administration is when you have creditors and you file a notice to creditors send it to the creditor and give them a period of time, which is three months from the date you first sent out a notice of the publication of creditors, and they can file their claims in the estate. So the personal representative will pay the claims and then the administration costs. There are no taxes unless your estate is in excess of $5 million dollars and then they distribute the balance of the money to the beneficiaries.


There is a short form of administration called a summary administration and that's available when the assets that are subject to probate are less than $75,000 and some provision has been made to pay any creditors or there are no creditors involved. Usually this is done for a flat fee rather than based upon a percentage. If there's homestead property and it's passing to the various children or heirs of the decedent, that's not counted toward the $75,000. Usually those fees are in the neighborhood of about $2,000 or $2,500 in attorney fees for summary administration plus the court costs.


So a formal administration will take probably four to six months and here again the attorney fees will be in the neighborhood of 3% of the assets with certain minimums of about $3,500 plus court costs. So if you need to have an estate probated, give us a call at 727-847-2288 and we'll be glad to discuss what the fees will be, how long it will take and what assets are subject to administration. The big thing is to do some planning ahead of time to avoid having to worry about probate, so here again, give us a call at 727-847-2288.


Thank you.