Although the process of administering a small estate in Florida is far simpler and less expensive than the process of administering a big one, it can still be a daunting task if you do not know what to do, especially during a time of grief. In this article, you will learn what you need to know about this process as well as how we can help you navigate it.
Understanding Summary Administration
In Florida, there is a simplified form of probate known as “summary administration” that can make the process of administering an estate easier, less expensive, and faster than formal administration. However, not all estates are eligible for summary administration. To determine if an estate qualifies for summary administration, there are two primary eligibility requirements:
- The value of the estate: The total value of the decedent’s estate, excluding exempt property, must not exceed $75,000. This includes all assets such as real estate, personal property, bank accounts, and investments.
- Time since the decedent’s death: If the decedent’s estate does not meet the value requirement, it may still qualify for summary administration if at least two years have passed since the decedent’s death. If two or more years have passed, there is no limit on the value of the estate.
If the estate meets either of these requirements, it is eligible for summary administration. However, even if an estate qualifies for summary administration, it does not mean you should choose this form of probate. Although formal administration is a lengthy, complicated, and expensive process, sometimes it is necessary, even for small estates. Make sure to consult with an experienced probate attorney to determine whether summary administration is the best option for the estate you are looking to administer.
The Summary Administration Process
Once you have determined that the estate qualifies for summary administration, the process can begin. Here are the steps involved:
- Filing a Petition for Summary Administration: The first step is to file a petition with the probate court in the county where the decedent resided at the time of their death. The petition must include information about the decedent, their assets, and the beneficiaries of the estate.
- Notice to Creditors: Although this is not required, it is a good idea to publish a notice to creditors in a local newspaper. This will inform any potential creditors of the decedent’s death and give them a chance to file a claim against the estate.
- Court Approval: Once the petition is filed, the court will review the documents and determine if the estate qualifies for summary administration. If approved, the court will issue an “Order of Summary Administration,” which will distribute the assets to the beneficiaries.
- Distribution of Assets: After receiving the court order, the beneficiaries can proceed with distributing the assets according to the decedent’s wishes. This may involve transferring titles, closing bank accounts, or selling property.
Helpful Tips for Administering a Small Estate in Florida
To ensure a smooth and efficient administration process, here are some helpful tips:
- Work with an experienced attorney: Dealing with the legal aspects of administering an estate can be complex, and it is essential to have an attorney who is well-versed in probate law to guide you through the process.
- Gather all necessary documents: Before filing the petition, make sure you have all the required documents, such as the decedent’s will, death certificate, and an inventory of their assets.
- Communicate with the beneficiaries: Keep the beneficiaries informed throughout the process to avoid any misunderstandings or disputes. Open communication can help ensure a smoother distribution of assets.
- Be prepared for potential creditor claims: Even though summary administration is a simplified process, there is still a possibility that creditors may come forward with claims against the estate. Be prepared to address these claims and consult with your attorney on the best course of action.
- Stay organized: Administering an estate can involve a lot of paperwork and documentation. Keep everything organized and easily accessible to help streamline the process.
Administering a Small Estate is Easy When You Work with Experts
At Jurado & Associates, P.A., we understand that although administering a small estate is far easier than administering a big one, it can still be an emotional and challenging experience, which is why our team of experienced attorneys is here to guide you through the process, providing compassionate and knowledgeable support every step of the way. With our expertise in probate law, we can help ensure that your loved one’s estate is administered efficiently and according to their wishes. We will work closely with you to gather all necessary documents, file the petition, and address any creditor claims that may arise. To get started, contact us today at (305) 921-0976, email us at [email protected], or reach out via WhatsApp at +1 (305) 396-8094. Let us help you navigate the summary administration process and provide the support you need during this challenging time.