There are several types of estate administration in Florida law. One type, called “summary administration,” which tends to be faster and simpler than traditional probate may be available in certain circumstances. It can be used whether there is a will, or the decedent died intestate, and for both resident and non-resident estates. The main requirement that must be met for an estate to qualify for summary administration is that the total value of the estate that is subject to administration. That is, everything that is not exempted by law, $75,000 or less. Summary administration can also be had, regardless of the value of the estate, as long as the decedent has been dead for over 2 years.
Summary administration is begun by the filing of a petition by the personal representative of the estate. This petition must be signed by any surviving spouse, as well as all beneficiaries except those who will be receiving a full distributive share. Any beneficiary who does not sign the petition must be given notice of it. It may be interesting to note that, as long as the estate qualifies, the petition may be filed at any point in the administration process, even after the commencement of formal administration.
Once the petition is filed, the will, if there is one, must be proved just as any will must. Then, the petitioner must make a diligent search for any creditors who might have claims on the estate, serve them with copies of the petition and make arrangements to satisfy any debt out of the estate’s assets. Often, this notice to creditors is done by publication. Once these steps are complete, the court may issue an order allowing distribution of the estate’s assets to the beneficiaries. Depending on the estate and the county in which the petition is filed, this type of administration may only take a couple of months.
Regardless of the type of estate administration used, there may be legal roadblocks that occur. It may be a good idea to consider consulting an estates attorney before beginning any process of probate administration in Florida.
Source: Leg.state.fl.us, “CHAPTER 735 PROBATE CODE: SMALL ESTATES PART I SUMMARY ADMINISTRATION(ss. 735.201-735.2063),” accessed on Nov. 03, 2014