Types of Probate: Formal, Summary and Ancillary

When someone passes away, any assets that were titled in that person’s name alone, with no beneficiary designations, are part of the probate estate of that individual. Probate is a court process by which the assets of an individual are distributed after his/her death. There are typically three types of probate administration: ancillary, summary, and formal.

When confronting the daunting task of handling the probate administration of a loved one’s estate, it is important to choose an attorney who is experienced in handling the myriad of issues that can arise during the administration.

Please contact us to schedule an appointment if you have any questions regarding the probate process or what assets are subject to probate.

Formal administration

Formal administration is the most common type of probate administration. In a formal administration, a personal representative (known in most states as an executor) is appointed to handle the business of the estate. Formal probate proceedings normally take six months to a year to complete depending upon the unique circumstances of each case.

Summary administration

Summary administration is an abbreviated probate proceeding appropriate for estates in which there are no creditors and the value of all assets that are subject to probate are less than $75,000 or when two years have passed since an individual’s death.

Ancillary administration

Ancillary administration occurs when a non-Florida resident dies owning real estate in Florida. Ancillary administrations can be conducted as either summary or formal probates.

Attorney’s Fees & Administrative Expenses - Formal Probate

Typical legal fees and fees paid to the personal representative under Florida Statute are as follows based upon the value of assets being probated:

  • $3,000 (flat fee) for Estates having a value up to $99,999;
  • 3% for Estates having a value of $100,000 or more;
  • 2.5% for Estates having a value of $1 million to $3 million; and
  • 1.875% for Estates having a value over $3 million.

Services Offered to Assist Personal Representatives

Our office and experienced staff will handle the following:

  1. Advise and assist in causing all necessary and proper actions to be taken regarding the preparation and filing of court documents required for formal probate administration of an estate;
  2. Assist with the determination of legal debts and expenses of the decedent;
  3. Assist with the collection of assets of the estate;
  4. Advise in the preparation of a complete probate inventory and accounting for the probate funds handled by the personal representative;
  5. Assist with the distribution of assets that remain (after debts and expenses are paid) to beneficiaries;
  6. Assist the accountant as needed with the preparation of the estate tax return and income tax returns as required;
  7. Serve as the liaison between the personal representative e and other beneficiaries;
  8. Communicate and coordinate efforts with other attorneys as needed for legal services regarding litigation, real estate matters, ancillary probate proceedings, etc. Also communicate with attorneys hired by beneficiaries; and
  9. Correspond with personal representative as frequently as necessary and correspond with the estate beneficiaries regarding probate documents filed (as required by Florida Probate Code) and as requested.