What is a Notice of Administration?

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When a loved one has died, it may not be the easiest time for you to receive a notice from the Florida probate court. You and your family may still be grieving, or struggling to adjust to life without a provider or companion. However, it is important that you know what to do when you receive a notice of administration. Choosing to ignore this important piece of mail could create problems for you and your family as the estate is probated.

What is a Florida Formal Notice of Petition for Administration?

A Florida Formal Notice of Petition for Administration (sometimes called a Notice of Administration), is a formal document or form sent at the start of the administration of a deceased person’s estate. It notifies everyone with a legal interest in the estate:

  • The person has died
  • A probate case has been opened to administer the estate
  • Who has petitioned to be appointed the personal representative
  • The contents of any Will being probated by the Court
  • The deadline for those people to file a Will challenge or assert their rights to the estate

The Notice of Administration can be sent before or after the Florida Probate Court issues Letters of Administration to the personal representative (formerly called the executor), but generally must be sent out within 20 days to 3 months after the filing of the petition.

Who is Entitled to Receive a Notice of Administration?

The personal representative is required to make sure all relevant parties know the administration of the estate has begun. This requires sending a notice of administration to:

  • The surviving spouse of the deceased
  • Any beneficiaries listed in the Will or trust documents
  • Trustees for any trust created by the deceased
  • Natural parents and guardians of minors (including minor heirs or beneficiaries)
  • Court-appointed guardians and conservators
  • Those eligible to receive probate-exempt property
  • The deceased’s next of kin for intestacy purposes

While there is no legal requirement to do so, many estate administration attorneys also recommend sending a notice of administration to:

  • Individuals named in older, revoked versions of the deceased’s Will
  • Immediate descendants of named beneficiaries,
  • Those excluded from the Will
  • Anyone else who may have an interest in the decedent’s estate

What Rights are Connected to a Florida Notice of Administration?

Receiving a Notice of Administration on a Florida estate administration case starts a countdown for asserting a number of rights related to the estate. People who receive this have a strict 90-day deadline to file Will contests, petitions to remove or replace the personal representative, or to assert their claim to a share of an estate with no Will (an intestate estate) based on their legal relationship to the deceased. Creditors face similar time limits to assert financial claims against the state after receiving a separate Notice to Creditors.

Surviving spouses and the deceased’s immediate dependents (including children) may have additional rights that are connected to the receipt of a Florida Notice of Administration. The current spouse of a deceased may be able to assert their Spousal Elective Share in addition to what they were left in the deceased’s Will. Similarly, Florida residents who are direct relatives of the deceased can apply a homestead exemption to certain real property, to protect that property from creditors and stop the family home or farm from being sold.

What Happens if You Don’t Receive a Notice of Administration?

The receipt of this document doesn’t give you any rights. It only notifies you of your ability to exercise them. If you are one of the people the personal representative is required to notify and you don’t receive a notice of administration, it can delay the completion of the estate administration process. As discussed above, there is a specific window for heirs and would-be beneficiaries to object to the probating of the estate. However, failure to provide the proper notice gives you the ability to object later, once you learn about the estate administration. This can create problems if assets you are entitled to through the will or intestate process have already been distributed to other beneficiaries.

What to Do When You Receive a Notice of Administration

If you receive a Notice of Administration for a loved one’s estate, your first step should be to schedule a consultation with a probate attorney to review your rights and your anticipated inheritance under the disclosed Will or trust documents. At Harrison Estate Law, P.A., our experienced estate and probate team can help you understand the probate process, consider your options, and file any necessary objections within the Florida probate court. Contact us here or call 352-268-1839 to get help today.

Categories: Estate Planning