Summary Administration

An estate may be administered in a summary fashion provided that the will does not require formal administration, and:

A.      more than 2 years since the date of death have passed;

                      or

B.      the assets of an estate are worth less than $75,000, excluding exempt property.

Exempt property is not counted towards the $75,000 cap in the Florida summary administration proceedings. Exempt property includes the decedent’s Homestead property and the exempt property listed under Section 732.402, Florida Statutes. The most common exempt property under Section 732.402 include household furniture, furnishing and appliances in the decedent’s home up to a value of $20,000 and two motor vehicles. Other examples of exempt property are: trusts, accounts with designated beneficiaries (retirement accounts, life insurance, investment and other accounts payable to a designated beneficiary upon the death of the account’s owner), property owned jointly with rights of survivorship, and life estate deeds. 

Beneficiaries generally remain liable for their pro rata share of any claims that are later presented against the estate, provided that:  (1) such claims are filed within two years after the decedent's date of death; and (2) the property distributed by the Order of summary administration is not property exempt from creditor's claims.

 

There are only limited circumstances for which summary administration makes sense.

Unlike in Florida’s Formal Administration, in Summary Administration a Personal Representative will not be appointed.  If you need to  (1) obtain bank or investment information (2) obtain life insurance (3) deal with insurance companies or mortgage companies or (4) sue on behalf of the estate, you need a Personal Representative appointed and should not use Summary Administration.  

Summary administration usually are able to be closed between 1-2 months.

If the decedent owned Florida Homestead Property, a Petition to Determine Homestead Status of Real Property is filed contemporaneously with the Petition for Summary Administration. The Petition to Determine Homestead is typically accompanied by a property tax bill and an affidavit by a disinherited person stating under oath that the deceased person resided in the property and it was their homestead.  In addition, depending upon the case, additional documents may need to be filed including:  (1) Affidavit of Heirs, (2) Notice of Filing Confidential Information, (3) Notice of Filing Death Certificate, (4) Notice of Filing Original Will (if any), (5) Proof of Service of Petition for Summary Administration, (6) Consent and/or Joinder by Beneficiaries, and (7) Petition to Admit Will to Probate. 

CHECKLIST

  • Locate the Original Death Certificate. You will need to provide this to the Clerk of Court in the appropriate County.

  • Find last four of the decedent’s social security number (will be on death certificate).

  • Identify the location of the decedent’s domicile or property at the time of death (determines venue).

  • Make sure that the Petitioner actually has an interest in the estate.

  • Identify whether Probate proceedings have also been initiated in a foreign state.

  • Gather the names and addresses of other beneficiaries or heirs.

  • Identify whether there is a will:

    • Provide the original to the Clerk of Court in the appropriate county and retain an original.

    • Make sure the Will does not require administration pursuant to a Formal Probate proceeding.

    •  Identify whether the will has a self-proving affidavit. If it does not you must have it attested to by a witness or the designated PR to be admitted to probate.

  • Make sure the Will complies with the execution requirements under Florida law.

  • Identify all assets of the decedent: Bank accounts, real property etc…

  • Identify if property was determined homestead. (Check the County Property Appraiser Website).

  • Determine whether there are any creditor claims against the estate.

  • Identify the proposed distribution (either via will or through the intestate rules of succession)

FILING FEE PAID TO CLERK OF COURT

 

$235.00 - For summary administration less than or equal to $1,000.00.

$345.00 - For summary administration greater than $1,000.00 and ancillary summary administration.

Did your loved one pass away owning Florida property in his/her individual name?  Contact us to learn how we can help you put that property in the right hands. 

THE PROCESS

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