The court-supervised process of transferring a deceased person’s assets to a set of people entitled to them is known as probate. There are multitudes of ways in which an estate can be administered when an individual passes away.
Several states in the U.S. have a well-contoured system in place if the value of the deceased person’s estate is under a certain amount. The Sunshine State has a well-defined process of its own called “summary administration.” Below are a couple of pre-requisites for this type of probate administration to be applicable in Florida:
- The decedent should have been dead for a minimum of 2 years.
- The decedent’s probate estate value should not exceed $75,000. However, this figure does not take into account the protected homestead real estate.
There are a few features exclusive to and typical of summary administration. It usually depends on factors like estate size, asset profile of the deceased and the total number of creditors and beneficiaries. It is also influenced by pre-existing disputes that could potentially result in estate litigation, as well as the presence of unidentified creditors. The process’s duration is generally shorter, typically between one and five months, when compared to formal administration. Summary administration can also be less expensive as well.
There are a few downsides though that one needs to be aware of before opting for this probate administration alternative:
- Unlike in formal administration, there is no provision for letters of administration under a summary administration.
- There is no provision for the appointment of a personal representative either. In the case of a formal administration, however, one is officially appointed. It is then his or her prerogative to request information regarding the decedent’s assets.
- Pre-filing, all assets must be accounted for under a summary administration.
The probate administration process in Florida is one that is knotty and fraught with complications. It has several moving parts and can sometimes seem intimidating. One is best advised to seek the guidance of an attorney well-versed in the subtleties of probate in Florida.