In Florida, there are two main types of probate – formal administration and summary administration. Essentially, summary administration is an expedited version of Florida probate.
Summary administration will require neither the appointment of a personal representative nor several proceedings associated with estates that are formally administered. Keep reading to find out how a summary administration is done in Florida.
How Do I Do a Summary Administration in Florida? – The Fundamentals
In Florida, an estate may qualify for summary administration if:
- the decedent has been dead for more than two years, or
- the value of the estate subject to probate does not exceed $75,000
When talking about value, consider the value of the entire estate subject to probate less the value of property exempt from creditors’ claims. If the decedent’s estate fulfills neither of the requirements, it will qualify for summary administration.
In case the decedent’s last will specifies that his/her estate must be formally administered, the estate will not qualify for summary administration – even after meeting one or both of the legal requirements.
When determining whether someone’s estate meets the value requirement for summary administration, homestead property will not be counted. Hence, the value of homestead property will affect the value of the decedent’s estate.
Besides, if the decedent’s only asset was a homestead property in Florida, his/her estate will qualify for summary administration regardless of the property’s value.
Filing for Summary Administration in Florida – Essential Checkpoints
Like any probate proceeding, summary administration begins once a decedent’s close relative or friend files a petition for probate in court. In this sense, petitions for summary administration must be filed by:
- one of the decedent’s beneficiaries
- a person nominated as personal representative by the decedent’s last will
It is worth noting that, if the decedent has a surviving spouse, he/she must sign and verify the petition – regardless of whether the document was filed by a beneficiary or the personal representative.
As provided by Florida Statutes §735.2055, “the petition for summary administration may be filed at any stage of the administration of an estate if it appears that at the time of filing the estate would qualify.”
Additionally, Florida probate rules require that the petition for summary administration include:
- Proof of the estate’s eligibility for summary administration
- A full list of assets subject to probate (identified and valued)
- Specific information regarding the estate’s debt(s)
- An asset distribution plan
Upon receipt of the petition, the probate court will assess whether the estate qualifies for summary administration. If the petition is approved, the court will issue an order to distribute the assets.
Letters of administration will not be issued by the court, as summary administration does not require the appointment of a personal representative. Accordingly, the assets subject to probate are distributed to beneficiaries and creditors once the estate is officially admitted to probate in court.
Summary Administration in Florida – Responding Creditors’ Claims
Florida law provides a two-year nonclaim provision by which creditors’ claims that are not filed within two years of the decedent’s passing are barred forever. Hence, if the decedent has been dead for more than two years, creditors’ claims do not need to be addressed.
Still, if the decedent has been dead for less than two years, state law establishes that creditor claims must be dealt with prior to the issuance of an order of summary administration.
Summary Administration – Immediately Contact Your Florida Probate Lawyer
Indeed, summary administration is much simpler than formal administration. Nonetheless, it is still probate. Hence, waste no time with uncertainty – call Attorney Romy B. Jurado and Diana C. Collazos at (305) 921-0976 or email [email protected] to schedule a consultation.