Do all Estates Have to Go Through the Same Type of Probate?

Having recently lost a loved one, the legalities surrounding their estate can be confusing and overwhelming. There are different types of probate, but which applies to your case? The two main types of probate are summary administration and formal administration. Smaller estates will usually go through Summary Administration, while larger ones will go through Formal Administration. Alternatively, if the estate is so small that an attorney is not necessary, it can be disposed of without administration. Formal administration is required for any estate worth more than $75,000 in property or assets after exempt property and assets are accounted for. On average, it takes about a year for Formal Administration to complet. The minimum amount of time is six months. For several reasons, this type of probate is also more expensive than Summary Administration. First, the filing fees are more expensive. Secondly, the compensation for the Personal Representative is charged separately. A tax professional may need to prepare tax returns, and that fee is charged separately. These legal costs add up as the process unfolds. Generally, estates valued under $75,000, after the above exemptions have been subtracted, can go through Summary Administration as long as there aren’t many debts. Since there are usually fewer services and fees involved, this is a less expensive and faster way to settle probate. When assets must be sold and liquidated within the probate process, Summary Administration does not work well. Another way Summary Administration can be used regardless of the value of the estate is if the individual has been deceased for more than two years. Creditors cannot file claims against an estate after two years have passed.

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