BONNIE A. BERNS, P.A.
1360 N. U.S. Highway 1
Ormond Beach, FL 32174
Probate is a legal process that distributes the assets and property of a decedent to heirs and beneficiaries as directed in their last will and testament. In the absence of a will, the court will direct the disposition per Florida family law. There are four types of probate in Florida: Ancillary Administration; Disposition without Administration, Formal Administration; and, Summary Administration. Since probate can be time consuming and expensive, it is best to hire an experienced probate lawyer who can help you understand which is best for your situation so your case can be handled as efficiently as possible without unnecessary delays or expenses.
The standard form of probate in Florida is known as a Formal Administration. Any estate, regardless of value, can file a petition to probate through this process. Once a judge appoints the personal representative (executor), he or she can begin settling the debts and distributing assets to heirs and beneficiaries of the decedent's estate.
When the estate of a decedent has minimal assets, like a small bank account, and no real property, a less formal and more expedient disposition without administration may be applicable. The value of the estate must not exceed final burial and medical expenses, and there are other requirements per Florida law..
An ancillary administration occurs when the decedent is not a Florida resident. In the absence of a will naming an Executor of the estate, the court will appoint a personal representative who is usually a family member or close friend, to manage the process. Since the decedent may have assets and property in another state, the executor or personal representative cannot take possession of the decedent’s estate until the court grants permission.
A summary administration is a shorter probate process that does not require a personal representative to be appointed by a judge. The estate must meet eligibility requirements to qualify, such as the decedent's death occurred more than two years prior, and the value of the estate is under $75,000, among others.
For more information about our probate services available to clients in Daytona Beach, FL contact us at 386-672-4040.