Florida Probate Administration – What You Need To Know
When a resident of Florida passes away, a Florida court must, in most cases, review and administer that person’s estate through a process known as Probate.
Summary Probate AdministrationFor certain Florida estates, Summary Administration is a “shortcut” that can be used to avoid Formal Administration, which is a more complex, expensive, and time-consuming process.
Under the Florida Probate Code, Summary Administration is only available in cases where:
- The decedent has been dead for more than two years, or
- The total value of the decedent’s estate is lower than $75,000.
Florida Summary Administration can be started either by the “executor” of the estate or by anyone who is to inherit assets from the decedent’s estate. The first step is filing a Petition for Summary Administration with the court, which must state that the estate qualifies for Summary Administration and list all assets included in the estate and all beneficiaries of such assets.
In order to be protected against any outstanding conflicts, all beneficiaries to the estate must either sign the Petition for Summary Administration or be given notice of it. Assuming no issues arise, the Petition for Summary Administration will allow the court to issue an order releasing all listed assets to their assigned beneficiaries.
Formal Probate AdministrationFor those estates that do not qualify for Summary Administration, a more detailed Probate process is required. This is known as Formal Administration.
The Formal Administration process begins when the Probate court appoints a personal representative to handle the administration of the estate. The duties of a personal representative are set forth in detail in the Florida Probate Code and include:
- Identifying and listing all assets included in the estate,
- Paying off all debts owed by the decedent, and
- Distributing the assets to all beneficiaries.
During the Formal Administration process, anyone who believes they are owed money or assets by the decedent will have time to come forward and file an official claim with the court. When creditor claims are filed against an estate, the personal representative must address such claims and pay all debts owed by the decedent. Additionally, the personal representative must provide a final report to the court showing how the assets are to be distributed to the beneficiaries. Depending on the nature and size of the estate, and whether creditor claims are filed and how many, the Formal Probate Administration process can take anywhere from a few months to several years.
Disposition Without AdministrationWhen it comes to Probate, there rare circumstances where an estate may avoid Probate administration altogether, through a process known as “Disposition without Administration.”
Disposition without Administration is allowed when the decedent left behind very little assets, and what remains of the estate can usually be used to reimburse final expenses. However, estates that include real property that needs to be distributed amongst heirs, such as a farm or a home, will not qualify for Disposition without Administration.
Anyone who paid for the final expenses of a family member or loved one and believes that they may qualify for Disposition without Administration should contact a qualified Florida Probate Attorney for assistance with the filing of the required paperwork.
Work with a Florida Probate AttorneyThe Florida Probate Attorneys at Jurado & Farshchian, P.L. understand that handling Probate issues and going through court proceedings during difficult emotional times is something nobody enjoys doing, which is why we are dedicated to helping you through the Florida Probate process with sensitivity and efficiency.