If your loved one passed away in Florida, and the estate meets certain criteria, you may be able to avoid the full probate process and instead file what is known as a Summary Administration.
Summary Administration is one of several types of probate administrations/proceedings in Florida. The full proceedings are known as Formal Administration, where there are multiple steps, and a judge involved in various points in the process. Summary administration eliminates and condenses some of these steps, so it typically can be done in less time and with fewer expenses.
One of the following must occur for an estate to be probated as a summary administration in Florida:
The value of the entire estate that is subject to probate (excluding life insurance and any assets that can pass to a beneficiary outside the probate process) must be $75,000 or less. (Real estate subject to homestead laws, even if it exceeds $75,000, can typically be probated as a summary administration).
Or, the person has to have passed away two or more years earlier.
How to Start/Initiate the Summary Administration Probate Process
As with all probates, the Will of the deceased person (if there is one), must be deposited with the court. (If there is no will, Florida law dictates how the assets are to be distributed). The court must appoint a personal representative (PR) to represent the estate. This person is charged with gathering and valuing all of the probatable assets, among other responsibilities.
The difference with a summary administration comes next: No personal representative (PR) needs to be appointed. Papers are simply filed with the court detailing the estate assets and their value, along with a plan for distributing the assets to each of the beneficiaries. If the probate court deems these papers, known as a “petition,” to be proper, it will approve of the plan soon after. Then the assets can be distributed and the estate closed—more quickly than is done with a formal probate.
Several Things to Consider Regarding a Probate Summary Administration:
Under Florida law, summary administration can be done even if the deceased person is not a full-time Florida resident.
Summary administration can be done if one or more of the beneficiaries named in the will has passed away.
Summary administration can be done if the decedent has left something to a minor (typically their children or grandchildren), although a guardian may need to be appointed to handle the minor’s inheritance.
Hiring an experienced probate attorney is necessary for smoothly discharging a summary administration in the state of Florida. The Law Office of Gary Landau, rated 10 out of 10 on the legal website AVVO, has successfully practiced Florida probate law for more than 20 years. The firm can handle probates in any county in the state of Florida. Contact us by phone or email for a FREE consultation to learn more about our firm and what we can specifically do for you. Attorney Gary Landau personally returns all calls to him.