The Florida Probate Code sets forth specific conditions by which it is possible to simplify probate proceedings or even waive the process altogether. Nonetheless, these legal “shortcuts” are available only for a few circumstances, as most estates must undergo probate.
Normally, the more valuable the assets held within an estate the more likely probate will be required. Keep reading to find out how the value of an estate determines which type of probate it must go through.
How Much Does an Estate Have to be Worth to Go to Probate in Florida? – An Overview
When someone dies in Florida, administering the decedent’s estate will likely require probate. The total value of the decedent’s estate will determine which court proceedings will take place.
Disposition Without Administration
The Florida Probate Code provides two distinct procedures for smaller estates – disposition of personal property without administration and summary administration. The first is the simplest way to administer an estate in Florida.
Depending on the case, disposition without administration could happen as quickly as 60 days in total. Yet, the process is available only for cases in which the total value of the decedent’s estate is less than the decedent’s final expenses.
As provided by Florida Statutes §735.301(1), final expenses refer to “the sum of the amount of preferred funeral expenses and reasonable and necessary medical and hospital expenses of the last 60 days of the last illness.”
When determining the value of the estate subject to probate, it is important to identify whether the decedent’s assets are exempt from probate. Florida Statutes §732.402 (2) provides that “exempt property shall consist of:
- Household furniture, furnishings, and appliances in the decedent’s usual place of abode up to a net value of $20,000 as of the date of death
- Two motor vehicles (as defined in Fla. Stat. 316.003), which do not, individually as to either such motor vehicle, have a gross vehicle weight in excess of 15,000 pounds, held in the decedent’s name and regularly used by the decedent or members of the decedent’s immediate family as their personal motor vehicles
- All qualified tuition programs authorized by section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986″
Additionally, it is important to note if the decedent’s left any real property, his/her estate will not qualify disposition without administration. Due to the strict requirements, most estates cannot qualify for this type of administration and waive probate entirely.
Summary Administration vs. Formal Administration
If the decedent’s estate does not qualify for disposition without administration, it will undergo probate. Depending on the case, it may qualify for either summary administration or formal administration. Summary administration applies to cases wherein:
- The total value of the decedent’s estate subject to probate is $75,000 or less, or
- The decedent has passed away more than two years ago
Traditionally, most estates qualify for formal administration. This type of probate administration applies to cases in which:
- The total value of the decedent’s estate subject to probate exceeds $75,000, or
- The decedent has passed away less than two years ago
Nonetheless, formal administration typically requires longer processing times (six to eighteen months) than summary administration (four to eight weeks). Besides, executing an estate through formal administration is more expensive and requires extra paperwork involved.