Summary Administration Versus Formal Administration in Probate
When someone dies, that person’s estate may be put through formal administration (in other words, the regular probate process) or it may be eligible for summary administration. This means that there are multiple methods of administrating probate in Florida.
Summary administration is offered in a few select situations. Considered a shortcut to probate, this option is available either when a person’s death occurred more than two years prior or the value of the entire estate does not exceed $75,000. In this case, the executor or anyone who stands to inherit property from the estate could file a document called a Petition for Summary Administration. If there is a surviving spouse, he or she must sign this petition, as well as all beneficiaries. Any beneficiary who does not sign the petition must be formally notified that it has been filed.
The Petition for Summary Administration simply calls on the court to note that the estate is eligible for shorter probate. In it, the deceased person’s estate is listed, as is the value of the entire estate and who will inherit the assets. If the court agrees that the estate is eligible for summary administration, it would issue an order that releases the property to the beneficiaries, and the probate process is over.
However, if the estate is not eligible for summary administration, it must pass through the more time-consuming and complex regular probate process. In this case, an executor would be named to present the deceased person’s will to the court to verify it. The representative would then analyze all assets, debts and taxes, and present the accounting to the court. At that time, if those involved object to the accounting, they would file a formal complaint with the court.
After the estate has been distributed, the executor would present the court with evidence that all debts had been paid and assets had been distributed according to the will. Only then is the probate process over and the estate closed. This process could take between six months and a year.
If you are a beneficiary of an estate that has yet to undergo probate, you may wish to consult an experienced Florida estate planning attorney with BaumannKangas Estate Law.