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What is a Summary Administration in Probate?

What is a Summary Administration in Probate?

Attorney L. Reed Bloodworth is the Founder and CEO of Bloodworth Law, based in Orlando, Florida, with offices in Winter Haven. 

Reed offers some insight and answers the question: What is a Summary Administration

Summary Administration Requirements 

A Summary Administration is a shortened form of Florida probate. It requires that the value of an estate, less the value of exempt property from creditors, is not more than $75,000. 

OR, that a decedent has been dead for more than two years.

For example: If a decedent died with $50,000 in assets, then it qualifies for a summary administration.

The Two-Year Rule 

Or, here’s another example. If an estate is worth $200,000 but the decedent died five years ago, then it qualifies for summary administration.

The reason for the two-year rule is that there is a statute that limits creditor claims against an estate two years from the date of death to file a claim.

No Personal Representative Necessary 

The benefit of a summary administration is that a personal representative is not needed. Any beneficiary or the personal representative named in the will can petition the court for summary administration.

All beneficiaries must either sign the petition or sign a waiver and join in the petition.

No Notifying Creditors 

Creditors do not necessarily have to be notified, so there is no three-month creditor waiting period.

Sometimes we publish after getting the order of summary administration and this is done to close the two-year window to three months.  

Shortened Form of Probate 

Summary administration is a much smaller time period, and while an exact time frame can’t be gauged, it is almost certainly shorter than going through formal probate.

Another shortened form of probate is the Disposition of Personal Property without administration. This is very limited and only available to the person who paid the final expenses, such as funeral or medical bills.  

Summary Administration Limits on Property

In a summary administration, the estate can only have exempt personal property — such as a car or household furniture — and non-exempt property like a bank account, that does not exceed the amount of funeral expenses up to $6,000, or, medical and hospital expenses from the last 60 days of illness.  

No real property is allowed. 

An Attorney Should Review Your Documents

It’s rare that an individual or a family can discern whether a summary administration is possible. A question that you may ask yourself right now is whether your basic estate planning documents are updated and legal according to Florida law?

Do you have a guardian named to take care of your children? Who is handling your estate? What will you do to address your missing or dated Florida legal documents that are needed for estate planning? 

It’s never been more important that your estate planning documents comply with Florida law. Talk with an experienced attorney to protect you, your family, and your loved ones.

Bloodworth Law serves as legal counsel for Floridians across the state. Our Estate Planning Team can work with you remotely, via Zoom, or in the office with safety measures taken to protect you as we help you with your legal issues. 

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