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What is a Formal Administration in Probate?

What is a Formal Administration in Probate? 

What is a Formal Administration in Probate? Formal Administration is the traditional form of probate which begins with a petition to open the estate and when a personal representative is appointed. It’s the most common manner in which a decedent’s estate is administered to beneficiaries.

Attorney L. Reed Bloodworth is Founder and CEO of Bloodworth Law in Orlando, Florida, with offices in Winter Haven. The Bloodworth Law Estate Planning team handles probate and probate litigation for Florida residents. 

What is Probate?

The reason for probate is to pass ownership from a decedent to beneficiaries. A formal administration is typically used when the estate is valued at more than $75,000.

The Probate Estate 

The value of the estate is the probate estate — what is passing through probate, not the entire estate — and not the assets that have a Payable On Death.

In regard to the homestead, the house where the decedent resided as his or her main residence, the value of the homestead is exempt up to a certain limit.

Formal Administration Requirements 

Formal administration requires the appointment of a personal representative and it is required that the personal representative have an attorney.

Interested parties and beneficiaries must be noticed, including any children left out of the will. Even if left out, they must be noticed because they are an interested party.

In formal administration, known creditors must be noticed (30 days). Publication is required for unknown creditors (3 month creditor period). And, creditors MUST be dealt with, whether by you or by an attorney.


Personal representatives must gather all the assets and put any cash into an account for the estate. What is an asset in this instance? 

  • A bank account without a Payable On Death
  • An investment account without a Payable On Death
  • Any real estate titled in the sole name of the decedent unless it is a homestead. 

Common Estate Planning Questions

Common questions you should answer about your own estate planning include:

  • Have you put off handling your estate planning?
  • Do you have a legal Florida will or does it need to be updated to reflect your current marital status, or assets that you have acquired?
  • Have you named a guardian for your children? 

It’s never been more important that your estate planning documents comply with Florida law. Talk with an experienced attorney to protect you, your family, your business, and your loved ones.

The Bloodworth Law Estate Planning Team handles probate for people across Florida. The team can work with you remotely over the phone, on Zoom, or in the office with safety measures to protect you while helping you with your legal issues. 

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