Summary Administration of Probate
In Florida, Summary Administration under Chapter 725, Florida Statutes, is available when
- the non-exempt property of the decedent’s probate estate is less than $75,000, or
- two years have passed since the decedent’s death; and
- the will (if any) does not direct formal administration.
Once two years since the date of death have passed, Florida Statute s. 733.710 bars creditor claims, which expedites administration without exposing inheritances to liability for unknown debts of the decedent. Summary administration does not appoint a personal representative, and can be theoretically completed in as little as one day, when the court’s docketing procedure/ court caseload permits. Like formal administration, a summary probate can be either testate (under the will) or intestate (distribution according to statute).
Comparison with Formal Administration
Though formal administration takes at least three months (due to the statutory creditor’s claim period), its benefits include a judicial determination of all claims and distributions, statutory payment of the personal representative, and mechanisms for dealing with complicated situations such as the continuation of a business. Those opting for a summary administration enjoy a lower clerk of court filing fee, expedited disposition of assets, and a reduction in the responsibilities and liabilities of the petitioner. A summarily probated estate may also take advantage of the three month limitation of creditor claims by publishing notice, which is ideal for small estates wherein the beneficiaries desire this additional protection from any potential debts of the decedent.