Summary Administration Under Florida’s Probate Code
Probate is the legal process of handling a person’s final affairs upon death, and it is usually necessary regardless of whether the decedent had a will or not. When there is a will, the document dictates who has the power to act, how assets are distributed, and other details; if the deceased did not leave a will, Florida’s laws on intestacy apply. The proceedings can be costly and time-consuming, unless the total value of the estate assets make the case eligible for summary administration under Florida’s probate code. Under such circumstances, the process is greatly streamlined with minimal involvement from a probate court.
Considering the attractions of cost and time, you probably want to know more about summary administration. It may be a consideration if someone close to you recently passed, and a Dade City probate attorney can explain the details. Plus, some background information reveals how summary administration can help you optimize your own estate planning.
Overview of Summary Administration in Florida
If you are considering options after the passing of a loved one, there are a few things to know about how the statute works:
- One aspect of the statute covers situations where the decedent passed away more than two years ago. The probate process is simplified because the claims of creditors are barred after this deadline.
- Another provision applies when the total amounts owned by the deceased was $75,000 or less. It is necessary to send notices to known creditors so that they have the opportunity to file claims for payment.
- Filing a petition is how you initiate the summary administration process, but the court will not appoint a personal representative.
- In addition to dealing with creditors, you can accomplish the other key objective for probate – dealing with the decedent’s assets. In the petition, you will include a schedule of the proposed distribution and the individual who is entitled to each item.
Advantages of Summary Administration
The lack of formalities and notices are part of the reason the process is faster and more cost-effective, and not having to appoint a personal representative eases many hassles. You can carry over these benefits in formulating your own estate plan, with the $75,000 threshold being the foundation. Only non-exempt, non-probate assets you own as an individual are considered, so:
- You can leave the proceeds of a life insurance policy to beneficiaries, and these amounts do not count towards the thresholds.
- Pay-on-death (POD) accounts are transferred to your designated beneficiary by operation of law, so they are not included as estate assets.
- Any property you own as a joint tenant may include survivorship rights, so they pass to other owners outside of probate.
- By creating and funding a living trust, you are no longer the owner of assets titled in its name.
Consult with a Florida Probate Lawyer to Learn More
Though summary administration is a somewhat simplified process, you could still get hit with the same costs you were trying to avoid if you do not have experienced legal help. For additional details, please contact The Law Office of Laurie R. Chane to schedule a consultation. You can reach our Dade City, FL office by calling 352-567-0055 or visiting our website.