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Formal Administration

An estate is administered using formal administration when:

A.      less than 2 years since the date of death have passed;


B.      the assets of an estate are worth more than $75,000, excluding exempt property.

Exempt property is not counted towards the $75,000 cap. Exempt property includes the decedent’s Homestead property and the exempt property listed under Section 732.402, Florida Statutes. The most common exempt property under Section 732.402 include household furniture, furnishing and appliances in the decedent’s home up to a value of $20,000 and two motor vehicles. Other examples of exempt property are: trusts, accounts with designated beneficiaries (retirement accounts, life insurance, investment and other accounts payable to a designated beneficiary upon the death of the account’s owner), property owned jointly with rights of survivorship, and life estate deeds. 


A Personal Representative will be appointed and will be able to  (1) obtain bank or investment information (2) obtain life insurance (3) deal with insurance companies or mortgage companies or (4) sue on behalf of the estate..  

1. Information Gathering: 

  1. Obtaining the original will and codicils (if any) 

  2. Obtain and compile a list of a beneficiaries, with name and address.  

  3. List all assets that you have discovered or think may exist. 

  4. If you have the original will, make sure to deposit with the Probate Clerk of Court in the county where the decedent resided immediately and retain a copy for your records. 

  5. Obtain certified copies of the death certificate. 

  6. Check to see if any claims or caveats have been filed. 

  7. Decide whether a Probate Bond will be necessary. 


2. Initial Document Preparation: 

In order to open your Formal Administration in Florida we will prepare and file the following: 

  1. Petition for Administration 

  2. Oath of Personal Representative 

  3. Designation of Resident Agent 

  4. Petition to Admit Will to Probate (if there is a will) 

  5. Proposed Letters of Administration 

  6. Oath of Witness to Will (if a will and non-self proving) 

  7. Bond Application for Personal Representative (if necessary) 

  8. Affidavit of Heirs

  9. Consent and Waiver by Beneficiaries

  10. Proposed Order Appointing Personal Representative 


3. Initial Probate Procedures: 

After the creation of your Formal Probate we will help you begin to administer the estate.  This stage typically deals with the following: 

  1. File Petition to Determine  Homestead Status of Real Property (if any)

  2. Submit Proposed Order Determining Homestead Property

  3. Gather the assets

  4. Send Notice of Administration to Beneficiaries

  5. Send Notice to Known Creditors (file proof of service with court)

  6. Send Notice to Creditors to Florida Medicaid Recovery if decedent was over age 55 (file proof of service with court)

  7. Publish Notice to Unknown Creditors (file proof of publication with court)

  8. File Verified Statement Regarding Creditors 

  9. File Affidavit of no estate tax due (if applicable) 

  10. File Application for Federal Tax Id (EIN)

  11. Creation of a checking account for estate. 

  12. Change of Address Notices


4. Inventory the Estate 

After opening a probate and creating the mechanisms for the Probate process to move forward correctly the next stage is to perform an inventory of the assets for the benefit of the Court and the beneficiaries. 

  1. Prepare inventory, send to interested parties and file with the Court

  2. File proof of serving inventory on interested parties

  3. Sell assets (if necessary)


5. Close out the Estate 

  1. File Final Accounting of Personal Representative 

  2. File proof of serving Final Accounting on interested parties

  3. Obtain Waivers from Beneficiaries

  4. Pay Creditors (if there are enough non-exempt assets in the estate) & file proof of payment

  5. Submit Proposed Order of Discharge

  6. Cancel bond

  7. Close out estate accounts 

  8. File final IRS Forms 

Filing Fee Paid to Clerk of Court:

$400 (plus credit card processing 


Filing Fee to Publish Notice to 

Creditors:  $109-$200

Did your loved one pass away owning Florida property in his/her individual name?  Contact us to learn how we can help you put that property in the right hands. 

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