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Types of Probate

Understanding Probate: Avoiding the Hassle


Probate often brings negative connotations due to its perceived complexity and cost. However, with competent and caring legal representation, it doesn't have to be burdensome. At Cause Law Office, we specialize in simplifying the probate process, ensuring it is as efficient and stress-free as possible.


Summary Administration vs. Formal Administration vs. Ancillary Administration


Summary Administration


Summary administration is a simplified probate process available for estates that meet certain criteria:

  • Eligibility: Estates valued at less than $75,000 (excluding exempt assets) or when the decedent has been deceased for over two years.

  • Exempt Assets: Assets not subject to creditor claims, such as the homestead (primary residence), qualifying vehicles, and furniture and furnishings up to $20,000.


This process is quicker and less expensive than formal administration, saving time and money. If you're unsure whether the estate qualifies for summary administration, our experienced attorneys can review your case and provide guidance.


Formal Administration


Formal administration is the traditional probate process in Florida, required for estates with:

  • Non-Exempt Assets: Valued at more than $75,000, including individual bank accounts, retirement accounts with no named beneficiaries, and additional real estate.

  • Time Frame: Less than two years since the decedent’s date of death.

  • Will Requirements: If the Last Will and Testament specifies formal administration.


Formal administration involves filing a petition to open the estate, appointing a personal representative, notifying creditors, taking an inventory of assets, communicating with beneficiaries, and paying debts and taxes. While more extensive, it can be beneficial for handling complex estates with numerous assets or creditor concerns.


Ancillary Administration


Ancillary administration is required when a decedent owns property in Florida but resides in another state. This process ensures that the Florida property is passed on to the beneficiaries in compliance with state laws.


Requirements and Documentation

  • Personal Representative: A representative or executor, as stipulated in the will, who meets Florida's statutory requirements.

  • Necessary Documents: Last Will and Testament, letters of administration, probate petition, order to admit the will, and multiple copies of the certified death certificate. Additional forms may include a copy of the Florida deed, names of beneficiaries, and an inventory of the property.


Why Choose atCause Law Office?


With over 40 years of combined experience, atCause Law Office in Clearwater, Florida, offers expert guidance in probate administration. Our flat-fee pricing ensures transparency and eliminates financial surprises. Whether you need assistance with summary administration, formal administration, or ancillary administration, our dedicated team is here to help.


Contact Us

For a consultation and to learn more about how we can assist you with your probate needs, call us at 727-477-2255. Let atCause Law Office provide the expertise and support you need to confidently navigate the probate process.

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