When a Florida estate has few debts, the executor can request summary administration. This is a simplified probate process for estates with nonexempt assets worth less than $75,000.
Understanding this process can help state residents plan their estates or execute a loved one’s estate.
To determine the tax-exempt value of the estate for probate purposes requires calculating the total value, then subtracting the value of creditor claims. The person’s primary, permanent residence in Florida is also exempt from the $75,000 threshold for summary administration in Florida.
In cases in which the person died more than two years ago, the estate qualifies for summary administration regardless of amount. This exception does not apply for estates that have already gone through standard probate.
The process of summary administration
Compared to formal Florida probate, which can take years, summary administration can take from a few weeks to several months. The process starts when an executor, beneficiary or heir of the estate files a Petition for Summary Administration in the county where the deceased person lived. Each county establishes its own filing fee for this document, ranging from $200 to $400. On the petition, the filing individual must list each asset in the estate, its beneficiary according to the will and its value. He or she should send a copy of the will when submitting this document.
All beneficiaries named in the person’s will must sign the petition. Otherwise, the executor must serve legal notice to those who do not sign.
Based on the petition, the court will approve summary probate for eligible estates. Beneficiaries may claim their named assets. The executor must also serve this petition to creditors, who have three months in Florida to submit a claim for repayment from the estate.
Some wills state that the deceased individual does not approve of summary administration for the estate. In this case, the estate is subject to formal probate regardless of its size.