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Home / Practice Areas / Florida Summary Administration

Summary Administration is a simplified type of probate available in Florida.  It is this law firm’s professional opinion that, whenever possible, Summary Administration should be utilized as opposed to Formal Administration.

What is probate?  Probate is a court supervised process of paying debts and transferring assets of a deceased person to his or her heirs.  Contrary to the popular belief, probate is required if a person dies with AND without a will.

What are the pros of Summary Administration?

  • Lower court filing fees and expenses of administration, including attorney fees
  • Faster completion time (1-6 months compared to 6-12+ month for Formal Administration)

What are the cons of Summary Administration?

  • No personal representative (executor) is appointed, which can make dealings with banks and other entities difficult or impossible
  • No effective mechanism for dealing with creditor claims

Does the estate qualify for Summary Administration?

A Florida estate can qualify for Summary Administration in two ways:

  • Value of assets is less than $75,000 NOT including the value of the decedent’s home AND there are no unresolved debts of the decedent OR
  • The decedent has been dead for more than 2 years

What is the process of Summary Administration?

Basic steps of Summary Administration in the state of Florida are described below.  These are just basics.  Facts of each case vary and additional steps may be necessary to successfully complete the probate.

First, necessary information is gathered.  This includes the original will, original death certificate (without cause of death), records of bank accounts, vehicles, real estate, life insurance policies*, other assets, contact information for all beneficiaries, and unpaid bills.  Most counties, such as Palm Beach, Broward and Miami Dade, require proof of the funeral bill being paid in full.

*Note on life insurance policies: if a life insurance policy (or any other assets, as a matter of fact) has a living beneficiary, it is not a probate asset and passes to the beneficiary per the contract between the decedent (the person who passed) and the insurance company.  Too often, life insurance policies have a person who is no longer living designated as the beneficiary, or have no beneficiary at all! Read more {HERE} about which assets are probate assets and which are not.

Second, an attorney drafts the necessary petitions.  Petition for Summary Administration is always required in Summary Administration and other petitions are often necessary.  A petition is a properly written request to a court, asking that court to do something.  In Summary Administration, the court is being asked to make a distribution of a deceased person’s assets.  Distribution is made by a court’s order, which is what transfers title of decedent’s assets to his or her heirs.

Third, the attorney electronically files the properly signed petitions with the appropriate court, along with supporting documents.  An original death certificate and the original Last Will and Testament, if any, are filed with the court.  You will not receive these originals back from the court.

Forth, written consents are requested from OR formal notice is sent to all beneficiaries.

Fifth, notices sent to known and statutorily required creditors, if applicable.

Lastly, a court hearing is held requesting the judge to sign orders necessary to transfer title of the decedent’s assets to his or her heirs.

Once the orders are signed, the probate is complete.  Your attorney will guide you how you and other heirs, if any, will now use the signed court orders to take possession of the assets that now belong to the heirs.

As stated at the top, Summary Administration should be utilized whenever possible.  However, many factors can make so impossible, even if the estate qualifies for Summary Administration under Florida law.  You can read about Formal Administration {HERE}.

Click {HERE} to schedule a 15 minute telephone consultation with attorney Natalia Bevilacqua to determine if your loved one’s probate qualifies for Summary Administration.