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Florida Summary Probate Administration

The Florida probate process can be taxing. In some circumstances, the law allows for a summary probate administration process that is typically less complicated, less time consuming and less expensive than the formal probate process. Not every estate, however, qualifies for summary administration.

Qualifying for Summary Probate Administration

There are two conditions under which a Florida estate may qualify for summary probate administration:

  • When the deceased has been dead for more than two years, or
  • When the total value of the estate is less than $75,000

Even if one of these conditions is met, formal probate will still be required if the decedent left a will requiring the formal process.

Understanding the Summary Probate Qualifications

Although the two circumstances allowing for the summary probate process appear straightforward, determining whether an estate qualifies is a bit more complicated. For example, the $75,000 cap on the value of the estate excludes certain property, such as homestead property and other property that is exempt from attachment by creditors.

An experienced estate lawyer can be your best resource for determining which approach to probate is appropriate.

The Summary Probate Process

Like formal probate, summary probate administration is commenced through the filing of a petition. The petition may be filed by any beneficiary, or by a personal representative named in the deceased’s will. If the deceased was married, however, the surviving spouse must sign and verify the petition.

The petition must show:

  • Facts establishing that the estate qualifies for summary administration
  • A list of assets and valuation of assets
  • Information about outstanding debts
  • A plan for distribution of the estate assets

Identifying and Serving Creditors in a Summary Administration

If the deceased passed away more than two years prior to the filing of the petition, any remaining creditor claims will be extinguished. Thus, in that circumstance, no due diligence is required to determine outstanding liabilities. If, however, the deceased has passed away more recently, the petitioner is required to make a diligent effort to identify creditors, serve them with a copy of the petition, and then make arrangement for payment of the debt if estate assets allow.

Talk to An Experienced Florida Probate Lawyer

Summary administration is simpler and more straightforward than the formal probate process, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy or intuitive. Even determining whether an estate may be managed through the summary process can be complicated. An experienced probate attorney can help you move the estate forward with confidence.

Our attorneys can help you:

  • Determine whether summary administration or the formal probate process is appropriate
  • Prepare an accurate and effective petition
  • Determine whether you are required to seek out creditors
  • Ensure that creditors are properly served, if necessary
  • Create a distribution plan that will be workable for you, fair to the beneficiaries, efficient, and acceptable to the court
  • Obtain a distribution order

Just fill out the form at the bottom of this page or call 386-320-6169 to schedule a consultation.