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Probate is a legal process through which the assets of a deceased person are inventoried and distributed to pay creditors' claims against the estate. If there are remaining assets, they are distributed to the heirs or beneficiaries. The court determines the validity of the will and oversees the process to ensure that the estate is properly administered.

 There are three basic types of proceedings for administering the decedent's estate:

 Formal Administration

This type of proceeding is used where there are considerable assets and it is necessary to appoint a personal representative to act on behalf of the estate. Letters of administration will be issued to the personal representative so that he or she will be able to administer the estate.

A formal administration MUST be filed by an attorney licensed to practice law in Florida, unless the personal representative is the sole beneficiary.

Summary Administration

This type of proceeding may be filed when the value of the entire estate does not exceed $75,000 or when the decedent has been decreased for more than two years. If the decedent has been deceased for less than two years, a copy of the funeral bill is required.

Disposition of Personal Property without Administration

This type of proceeding is filed to request release of the decedent's assets to the person who paid for final expenses such as funeral costs or medical bills that accrued in the last 60 days.

Disposition of personal property without administration cannot:

  • Exceed the amount of funeral bill
  • Include real estate
  • Transfer loans
  • Release assets from a safe deposit box

For instruction on how to file a new case for this proceeding, review the Information Sheet for Disposition of Personal Property without Administration