Probate is the court-supervised process of administering the estate of a deceased person by identifying and gathering the decedent's assets, paying taxes, claims and expenses and resolving all claims against that person and distributing the deceased person's property according to that person's will or according to the Florida intestacy statute. More simply put, it is the process of clearing all financial claims and retitling assets. Upon the death of a person, all assets owned solely by that person then become property of that person's "estate." The estate is then treated as a separate entity until all claims are satisfied or extinguished and all assets are transferred out of the estate according to the will or the intestacy statute if no will. Depending on the size of the estate and the complexity or type of assets and debts included within, this process can take on average anywhere from five to fifteen months.
Probate is classified as either Formal or Summary. Summary administration is available if the value of the estate subject to probate in Florida
is not more than $75,000 or more than two years has passed since the death of the decedent. Summary administration is much simpler, shorter, and less expensive. Formal administration applies to all other probate estates not qualifying for summary administration.