How much does probate cost?

Other than attorneys fees, there may be costs/expenses for:

  • Case Filing Fees ($235-400)
  • Publication of a “Notice to Creditors” (range: $100-200)
  • Recording of Orders ($10 for the first page, $8.50 each addt’l)
  • Certification of Orders ($2.00 certification + $1.00 per page of each instrument)
  • Postage and/or FedEx
  • Costs of ordering documents (death certificates, copies of Wills.)

What is formal administration ?

Formal administration represents the conventional and more comprehensive method of probate in Florida. In formal administration, a personal representative, often referred to as an executor, is appointed to oversee and manage the estate’s affairs. This personal representative is responsible for various tasks, including the distribution of assets, paying off debts and taxes, and handling legal matters related to the estate. This approach is typically used when the estate’s complexity or the value of assets exceeds the thresholds for simplified forms of probate like Summary Administration.

What is Summary Administration ?

Summary Administration is a streamlined probate process that is typically employed when either the total assets of the estate are valued at $75,000 or less (excluding the value of the homestead), or when more than two years have elapsed since the date of the individual’s death. In the case of Summary Administration, there is no appointment of a personal representative to manage the estate, and it is often referred to as “small estate administration.” This process is designed to simplify and expedite the handling of smaller estates and can offer certain advantages in terms of efficiency and reduced administrative burden.

What are Letters of Administration?

Letters of Administration serve as court orders that are integral components of the formal administration process. These letters grant the appointed personal representative the legal authority to initiate the estate administration proceedings. Among their various responsibilities, personal representatives are authorized to engage with financial institutions, including banks and brokerages, to handle matters related to the estate. Importantly, obtaining Letters of Administration requires the initiation of an estate in probate court. Without opening an estate in probate court and following the formal legal procedures, one cannot obtain Letters of Administration, which are essential for managing and distributing assets in accordance with the law.

How do I access a safety deposit Box?

Usually, gaining access to a safe deposit box involves presenting a court order that grants permission for inspection, or alternatively, presenting Letters of Administration (LOAs). It’s important to note that Letters of Administration also function as court orders in this context, as they provide the legal authority necessary to access and manage the contents of the safe deposit box.

What happens if there is no Last Will and Testament?

In the absence of a Last Will & Testament, the disposition of assets may be governed by a legal concept known as “intestate succession.” When a person passes away without a Will (intestate), Florida Statutes provide a framework for determining who is entitled to inherit the deceased’s estate assets. This legal framework outlines the distribution of assets in cases where there is no specific testamentary document to guide the process.

What happens during probate?

Assets are collected, creditors are paid and beneficiaries receive whatever remains.

  • Assets = Real Estate or Personal Property
  • Two kinds of “Probate”: Summary & Formal Administration
  • The existence of a Will does not eliminate the need for probate
  • In Florida, “Personal Representatives” are in charge of “probating” the estate
  • Personal Representatives must have attorney representation (attorneys do most of the work)
  • Most probate cases are filed by mail with telephone hearings (so your attorney does not have to be in the county where probate is required)