Summary Administration As An Alternative To Probate
It’s no secret that the probate process is time consuming and often confusing for whoever is tasked with serving as the estate’s personal representative. Fortunately, there are a couple of alternatives to formal administration, also called full probate. At Bubley & Bubley, P.A., we work with families who are trying to administer a loved one’s estate in an efficient manner. Summary administration might work for you. Below, our probate lawyer looks at when you can use this option.
What is Summary Administration?
This is a streamlined form of probate explained in Florida Statutes section 735.201. There is less paperwork, and it is usually faster. You start it by filing a petition with the necessary information in the probate court. The probate court does not need to appoint a personal representative, but you still need a lawyer to help guide the process to completion.
Summary administration is an option for estates in two situations, described below.
Is the Estate Worth $75,000 or Less?
This is the first way to qualify. You can typically use it if the estate is not worth more than $75,000. When calculating the value of the estate, you do not include exempt assets, like a qualifying Florida homestead. An attorney can review the estate and determine which assets are exempt.
Summary administration is a good option for smaller estates. You can ultimately distribute assets to heirs faster, which helps them move on financially after the death of a loved one.
However, you still need to make a diligent search to find creditors and arrange to pay them. For example, your husband might have owed $12,000 on credit cards when he died. You will need to pay those debts with estate assets. If you don’t, you could be sued down the road by the creditors.
Has the Decedent been Dead for at least Two Years?
This is the second way to qualify. If the deceased passed more than two years ago, you can use summary administration regardless of the estate’s size.
What’s special about two years? This is the deadline for a creditor to make a claim against the estate. Once two years have passed, all creditor claims are barred by law. Since paying creditors is a big part of formal administration, you can skip it when no creditors can make claims.
Bubley & Bubley, P.A. Can Help
If you are interested in summary administration, reach out to our firm. We can:
- Analyze whether summary administration is an option.
- Determine whether you can use the even simpler process of disposition without administration.
- Estimate the value of estate assets.
- Analyze whether real estate qualifies as a homestead under Florida law.
- File a petition for summary administration with the probate court.
- Represent you in court before the probate judge.
- Search for creditors and arrange to make payment.
Although summary administration is convenient, there are problems if you use this form when the estate does not qualify. In particular, you could be sued by creditors and face other consequences.
Speak with Us Today
One of our Tampa probate lawyers is standing by to answer any questions you have or represent you in summary administration.