Generally, when someone dies leaving behind assets in Florida, their personal representative must file for probate, a court-supervised process for winding down the estate that can take several months to a year to complete, depending on the circumstances.
Fortunately, estates of a certain size may be eligible for “Disposition Without Administration,” a faster and simpler alternative in Florida that comparable to the “Small Estate Affidavit” of other states. An experienced Florida Probate Lawyer from Jurado & Associates, P.A. can help determine whether an estate qualifies for this streamlined process and help make it even smoother.
Disposition Without Administration: Florida’s Answer to the Small Estate Affidavit
While probate procedures vary from state to state, the process is very often a long and costly one. Hence many jurisdictions have what is known as a “Small Estate Affidavit,” a legal document that authorizes an heir or beneficiary to claim the decedent’s assets without having to go through probate.
While Florida does not provide a small estate affidavit, it does have a similar mechanism known as Disposition Without Administration, which allows a qualified beneficiary to petition the court to directly transfer the estate assets directly to them without probate. While this is the fastest available alternative to probate in Florida, it applies only to very particular circumstances.
First, disposition without probate administration is available only to the person who paid for the decedent’s final expenses—such as funeral costs or end-of-life medical care—since the assets in the estate are to be used as reimbursement.
Second, the decedent cannot have left behind any real estate or real property, and the assets making up their estate must not exceed $6,000—not including exempt property, such as two motor vehicles, certain tuition funds, and up to $20,000 in furniture and household items, among other examples.
Finally, the value of the final expenses must not be more than $6,000.
Petitioning for Disposition Without Administration
If you believe you are entitled to reimbursement for final expenses, you must first file a special form with the probate court, “Disposition of Personal Property without Administration,” to initiate the process. You will then be required to submit several documents in support of your petition, including:
- A certified copy of the decedent’s death certificate
- The decedent’s original Will, if any
- Copies of funeral bills
- Receipts of medical expenses paid in the last 60 days of the decedent’s life
- Signed consents from the decedent’s heirs, if applicable
- An inventory of the decedent’s assets
- Proof of payment of the court’s filing fee
- A Creditor Statement proving there are no outstanding debts
It is important to emphasize the petition for Disposition Without Administration must be properly drafted in accordance with judicial and statutory requirements. Failure to get the consent of all heirs, or to make a full accounting of the decedent’s assets, could delay or derail the processing, turning an otherwise quicker and easier alternative to probate into a more drawn-out process than it should be.
Why you Need a Florida Probate Lawyer for Disposition Without Administration
While Disposition Without Administration is comparatively smoother and easier than most forms of probate, it is still a judicial process requiring compliance with the law. That is why it is critical to hire an experienced Florida Probate Lawyer who is likelier to make the procedure even easier and smoother.
Jurado & Associates can help you determine whether your loved one’s estate qualified for Disposition Without Administration, whether you are entitled to receive the assets through this method, and how you can carry out the process from start to finish. Leave it to our experienced and qualified probate experts to handle the complex and nuanced legal details so you can receive just compensation faster than you otherwise might.