Probate has a well-deserved reputation as being a lengthy and complex legal process. Thankfully, state law offers an alternative that helps people with limited means to pass their property on to their heirs more quickly after their death. This process is called summary administration.
Summary probate administration in Florida moves much quicker than formal administration with one of our attorneys in Coral Gables. At the same time, it also ensures that the decedent’s proper heirs receive the assets that they deserve while allowing creditors to take what they are owed. If a loved one has recently passed away and you believe that summary administration is an option, a knowledgeable probate attorney may be able to help guide you down this path.
What is Summary Probate Administration?
Summary probate administration is a shortened version of the full, formal probate process. It functions as a way for heirs to receive their fair share of a decedent’s assets quicker after a person’s death. At the same time, the court still addresses many key legal issues and can hear arguments concerning the authenticity of a will or the creditors’ rights.
The process begins with the submission of a formal petition for summary administration. According to Florida Statute § 735.203, the petition must include the signature of the decedent’s spouse, if any. The petition should also include the standard information about:
- The decedent’s will, if any;
- The decedent’s creditors;
- All potential heirs, whether or not they are named in the will;
- The decedent’s assets.
Upon receiving this petition, the court will initiate probate under the procedures of summary administration. This includes authenticating the will and ordering the payment of creditors, if either exists.
This differs from formal administration in how the court will order the distribution of assets to heirs. Under FL Stat. § 735.206, the court can order the direct distribution of this property to the decedent’s heirs. This is in contrast to formal administration that places this obligation in the hands of a personal representative. As a result, summary probate administration with an attorney in Coral Gables is often much quicker than the more complicated formal process.
Determining if Summary Probate is an Option
Unfortunately for the deceased and their heirs, summary probate administration is not always an option. In fact, state law determines when relatives or named personal representatives can ask a court to initiate this process.
FL Stat. § 735.201 outlines when an estate might be eligible for summary administration. It says that the estate must have a value of $75,000 or less. It is important to realize that this valuation comes after subtracting the value of property exempt from the claims of creditors. Alternatively, a person seeking to initiate probate may seek a summary process if the decedent passed away more than two years ago. Consulting with a lawyer can assist individuals in determining whether summary probate administration is appropriate.
Learn the Benefits of Summary Probate Administration by Calling a Coral Gables Attorney Today
Summary probate administration may be the preferred option when a person dies with less than $75,000 in assets or has been deceased for more than two years. This process can help ensure that the proper heirs receive their fair share of assets without the time and complication that can often arise from formal administration.
Talking with an attorney could help you better understand how summary probate administration in Florida works and when it is appropriate with one of our Coral Gables attorneys. We can submit formal petitions to the court and confirm that a decedent’s wishes for their property are implemented. Fill out a contact form and set up a free consultation with our team today to get started.