Florida is a haven for many out-of-state individuals that want to enjoy warm weather year-round, a pro-business environment, and a favorable tax system. What happens when someone dies in Florida? How can the deceased’s heirs receive their share? Read on to find out.
What Are the Inheritance Laws in Florida? – The Basics
After the death of a Florida resident, the first action is to submit the deceased’s will to the appropriate court with a valid death certificate.
Florida Statutes §732.901(1) provides that “the custodian of a will must deposit the will with the clerk of the court having venue of the estate of the decedent within 10 days after receiving information that the testator is dead.”
Once the will is submitted to the court, they will verify the document’s validity and identify whether the deceased’s estate is subject to probate. During probate, the decedent’s pending debts must be paid before the distribution of the remaining assets to the heirs.
Inheritance Laws in Florida – Taking a Closer Look
Disposition without Administration
In some cases, probate is not necessary, which is called “disposition of property without administration.”
Florida Statutes §735.301 (1) expressly states that “no administration shall be required, or formal proceedings instituted upon the estate of a decedent leaving only:
- Personal property exempt under the provisions of Fla. Stat. §732.402
- Personal property exempt from the claims of creditors under the Constitution of Florida, and
- Nonexempt personal property the value of which does not exceed 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”
If the deceased’s estate does not qualify for disposition without administration, it may go through summary administration or formal administration.
Under Florida Statutes §735.201, “summary administration may be had in the administration of either a resident or nonresident decedent’s estate when it appears:
- In a testate estate, that the decedent’s will does not direct administration (…)
- That the value of the entire estate subject to administration in this state, less the value of property exempt from the claims of creditors, does not exceed $75,000 or that the decedent has been dead for more than two years”
As its name suggests, summary administration is an expedited form of probate that may require only a few weeks to complete. This type of administration does not require the appointment of a personal representative.
If an estate qualifies for neither disposition without administration nor summary administration, it must go through formal administration. The key element of formal administration is the appointment of a personal representative to handle the deceased’s affairs.
Also referred to as “executor,” the personal representative is granted authority by the court to gather, inventory, execute, and distribute the deceased’s estate.
The duties of an executor include paying off outstanding debts, filing tax returns, and paying off the deceased’s funeral expenses. The larger the estate, the lengthier formal administration tends to be.
Is Probate Necessary If There is No Will in Florida?
When a Florida resident dies without a will, the deceased’s estate must be distributed under the state’s intestacy laws. In such cases, the court appoints an executor based on a statutory order of preference and the heirs inherit their share of the estate following a specific statutory order.
We Can Help You Navigate Florida Inheritance Law – Immediately Contact Your Florida Probate Lawyer
Waste no time – contact Attorneys Romy B. Jurado and Diana C. Collazos today by calling (305) 921-0976 or emailing [email protected] to schedule a consultation.