In Florida, summary administration is an expedited probate process that does not require the appointment of a personal representative. Summary administration holds several advantages over traditional probate, which tends to be lengthy and expensive. Therefore, for qualifying estates, summary administration is generally a good option. In this article, we discuss summary administration in Florida.
Qualifying for Summary Administration
Summary administration in Florida is available for an estate in the following two scenarios:
- The value of the entire estate, exempt property, and homestead property does not exceed $75,000; or
- The decedent has been deceased for over two years.
The Summary Administration Process
The summary administration process begins with the filing of a petition in court. The petition may be filed by the personal representative of the decedent’s will or by any beneficiary. The summary administration petition must include:
- Information demonstrating the estate is eligible for summary administration;
- A list of the estate’s assets and their values;
- Information about the estate’s debt; and
- A plan for distributing the estate’s assets.
After the court receives the summary administration petition and is satisfied that the estate qualifies, it issues an order distributing the estate’s assets. After the court issues the order, the assets of the estate are distributed to beneficiaries and creditors.
Pros of Summary Administration
There are several advantages of the summary administration process, including:
- Summary administration is quicker than formal administration in Florida. Generally, summary administration can be closed in anywhere from one to three months. Formal administration, on the other hand, takes a minimum of six months to conclude.
- In addition, the expenses associated with summary administration are considerably less than those of formal administration. For instance, the attorney’s fee is reduced for summary administration, there is no personal representative to pay, and there are no costs to publish required notices to creditors.
Cons of Summary Administration
Although summary administration tends to be quicker and less expensive than formal administration, it does have some disadvantages, including:
- Without a personal representative with authority to act on behalf of the estate, there is no practical way to uncover hidden assets or negotiate with and object to creditors.
- Transferring assets can be difficult if financial institutions won’t work with the individual handling the estate’s affairs.
- Without an official inventory of assets, it is up to the family of the decedent to account for all assets prior to filing.
- The two-year waiting period to avoid creditors on estates that possess non-exempt property can delay the resolution of certain family affairs.
Contact an Experienced Probate Attorney
At the Law Offices of Angela Siegel, we are here to assist you with your probate needs. Our talented probate attorney takes a comprehensive approach to the probate process, providing legal advice to the decedent’s surviving family regarding the necessary steps to be taken. Whether you are facing a relatively straightforward probate proceeding or require assistance with a more complicated matter, Angela Siegel is here to help. Please contact us today to schedule a free consultation.