What is Summary Administration in Florida?
Summary administration is a simplified Florida probate procedure for small estates or when the deceased has been dead for over two years. It avoids many of the formalities required in a formal administration.
When Can You File Summary Administration in Naples?
There are two different ways that an estate can qualify for summary administration in Naples:
1. The estate assets are valued at not more than $75,000.
2. The decedent has been dead for more than two years.
If the individual has been dead for more than two years, there is no limit on the estate value. All known creditors must be paid before a petitioner can file for summary administration.
What Property is Excluded?
Certain property is exempt and not counted toward the $75,000 limit for summary administration in Florida. Exempt property includes the deceased’s primary residence and the exempt property listed under Section 732.402, Florida Statutes. Common exempt property under this statute includes:
• Household furniture, furnishings, and appliances up to $20,000,
• Two motor vehicles, and
• 529 college savings accounts.
How Long Does the Process Take?
Summary administration is a much faster and cheaper process than formal administration. Generally, estates that are probated through summary administration are closed within one to two months in Naples. In comparison, formal administration takes a minimum of six months to be finalized.
Is a Personal Representative Appointed?
The probate court does not appoint a personal representative to administer the estate in summary administration. Instead, the probate court distributes the estate property to the rightful beneficiaries.
Should You File Summary Administration if the Deceased Had Creditors?
Summary administration is best used when the decedent has no creditors. Creditors are a non-issue if the decedent has been dead for more than two years because, in Florida, creditors only have two years to file a claim against a deceased person. Any claims brought after two years are barred.
If the decedent has been dead for less than two years, the petitioner in a summary administration proceeding must “make a diligent search and reasonable inquiry for any known or reasonably ascertainable creditors, serve a copy of the petition on those creditors, and make provision for payment for those creditors to the extent that assets are available.” The petition can either file a Notice to Creditors to stop future creditors from bringing claims or file an Affidavit with the petition where they remain personally liable for any creditor claims brought before the two-year period.
If there are multiple creditors, the court may require you to convert the summary administration proceeding to a formal administration.
How Do You File Summary Administration?
The summary administration process is a relatively straightforward process in Naples. You must file a petition with the probate court in the county where the deceased person lived. The petition should request that the probate court enter an order stating that the probate assets be distributed pursuant to the decedent’s Will. The petition should include information about the deceased’s assets and liabilities, names and addresses of heirs, and a statement that the estate qualifies for summary administration.
The petition for summary administration can be filed by any beneficiary or by a person nominated as a personal representative by the decedent’s Will. If there is a surviving spouse, they must sign the petition.
Along with the petition, you must file an affidavit that you made a diligent search and inquiry as to any known or reasonably discovered creditors and either:
1. There are no creditors who could file a claim against the decedent or the estate,
2. The creditors are barred, or
3. If there are creditors, a plan for the payment of these debts.
The court order is used when transferring the probate assets to the beneficiaries named in the will. A Naples probate lawyer can guide you through the process and answer any questions that arise throughout the process.
Call James R. Nici – Estate Administration Lawyer
When a loved one has passed and the estate is small, you may not necessarily hire an attorney. However if you are out of state or confused about how to do a summary administration, you may enjoy hiring an attorney like James Nici. As an experienced southwest Florida estate administration lawyer, based in Naples, he is well versed in Florida probate law and estate administration including summary administration. He can assist you on how to handle a summary administration.
Contact Nici Law Firm and James Nici. We are well-versed in these issues and can assist you through an estate administration. We also do estate planning, asset protection, probate services, business planning, assist with establishing Florida Domicile, and use the Strategic Estate Planning System
Contact our office today at (239) 449-6150 or use our web form to set up a free consultation.