Can you settle an estate without probate in Florida? The short answer is yes; however, this option is not always available. In this article, you will learn: 1) how to determine whether a particular estate can be settled without going through a lengthy and expensive probate process, and 2) how to do it properly, making sure you remain compliant with the Florida Probate Code.
Florida Probate and Its Alternatives
Probate is the legal process of administering a deceased person’s estate, which includes distributing assets to heirs and paying off any debts. However, not all estates need to go through probate. In Florida, there are several alternatives to probate that can be used to settle an estate, depending on its size and complexity, including:
- Disposition without Administration: This option is available for small estates with little or no assets. If the decedent’s assets are only used to pay for funeral expenses and medical bills, a formal probate process may not be necessary. To qualify for this option, the estate must consist of personal property with a value not exceeding the sum of funeral expenses and medical bills.
- Summary Administration: Summary administration is a simplified probate process for estates valued at $75,000 or less, excluding the value of the decedent’s homestead property. This process is faster and less expensive than formal probate and can be used if the deceased has been dead for more than two years or if the estate meets the value requirements.
- Trust Administration: If the decedent had a properly funded living trust, the estate can avoid probate altogether. Trust administration is a private process that allows assets to be distributed directly to beneficiaries without court involvement.
Steps to Settle an Estate without Probate in Florida
- Determine if the estate qualifies for a probate alternative: Consult with an experienced probate attorney to determine if the estate meets the requirements for disposition without administration, summary administration, or trust administration.
- Gather important documents: Locate the deceased person’s will, trust documents, and any other relevant estate planning documents. You will also need to gather information about the deceased person’s assets, debts, and beneficiaries.
- Notify creditors and pay debts: Florida law requires that you notify creditors of the deceased person’s death and provide them with an opportunity to file claims against the estate. Debts must be paid before assets can be distributed to beneficiaries.
- Distribute assets to beneficiaries: Once all debts have been paid, you can distribute the remaining assets to the beneficiaries according to the terms of the will, trust, or Florida intestacy laws if there is no will.
- Close the estate: After all assets have been distributed and debts have been paid, you can close the estate by filing any necessary documents with the court.
Why Choose Jurado & Associates, P.A. for Your Estate Settlement Needs
At Jurado & Associates, P.A., we understand the complexities of the probate process and are committed to providing personalized and professional legal guidance. Our experienced attorneys will help you determine the best course of action for your specific situation. If you need assistance with settling an estate in Florida, do not hesitate to reach out to us at (305) 921-0976 or email us at [email protected]. You can also contact us via WhatsApp at +1 (305) 396-8094. Let Jurado & Associates, P.A. be your trusted legal partner in navigating the estate settlement process, providing you with the peace of mind you need.