What is a Probate
Probate is a formal Legal process, more specifically, a Judicial process whereby the Will of a person who has died is recognized by a court of law. Executors or Personal representatives are then appointed by the court to distribute the property/assets among the beneficiaries. Everything is done here under the supervision of the Court of Law and this process requires a lot of patience, time, and money.
This involves organizing the money, assets, and possessions of the dead person and after paying any taxes and debts, they are distributed as per the instructions in the Will.
Read more about Probate.
The 2 Probate shortcuts in Florida are:
- Disposition Without Administration
- Summary Administration
What is Disposition Without Administration in Florida?
Disposition Without Administration is a quick and inexpensive informal probate process in Florida, designed for estates of minimal value. It is used to request the release of assets of the deceased to the person who paid the funeral and/or final medical bills.
Florida Statute §735.301 deals with this process of Disposition Without Administration.
The following assets are exempted under Disposition Without Administration.
- Household goods or furnishings up to $20,000 in value.
- 2 personal motor vehicles of the deceased.
- Any qualified tuition plans under Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code.
- Personal property up to $1,000 in value.
- The property whose value doesn't exceed what's owed in the final expenses of the last 60 days of the last illness.
Note - Any Real property is not covered under Disposition Without Administration.
If the deceased person died intestate, the following must be fulfilled to qualify for disposition without administration:
- The deceased person must be dead for more than 1 year.
- There must be no probate pending in Florida.
Disposition Without Administration does not require the help of an attorney to file it. You may find the relevant forms to file this in the country courthouses and the filing fees is also minimal.
The Steps of Disposition Without Administration in Florida
Step 1: Filing of application for Disposition Without Administration by the interested person(usually the spouse or the child).
This affidavit or letter will include
- Descriptions of the deceased's assets
- Receipts of funeral and medical expenses
- And the requested payments or distributions of the deceased person's property.
Step 2: Signing of the application by a person entitled to exempt property if any.
Step 3: If the court is satisfied, it can authorize the distribution of the estate.
Example- The deceased person had $1000 in a bank account as the only property. You have paid $3000 during the funeral of the deceased. After the application for disposition without administration, the court orders the bank account to be distributed to you and reimburses you with the $3000 you have paid for the funeral expenses. You can present the court order directly to the bank.
What is Summary Administration in Florida?
Summary Administration is a simplified probate procedure in Florida for small Estates. It's an option if either:
- The person has been dead for more than 2 years
- The value of the probate estate is not more than $75,000.
A document called Petition for Summary Administration is required to be filed by the beneficiary or the executor of the deceased’s Will.
In case the deceased was married. The surviving spouse, if any, must also sign and verify the petition.
The petition must contain the following information:
- That the estate qualifies for summary administration
- List of the deceased’s assets
- Value of the assets, and
- The inheritors of the assets
The Steps of Summary Administration in Florida
Step 1: Filing of Petition for Summary Administration by the Executor or personal representative nominated in the Last.
Step 2: Signing and verification of the petition by the surviving spouse if any.
Step 3: Serve a copy of the petition to creditors.
Step 4: Notify the creditors through publication in local newspapers. Creditors only have three months after the publication to try to make a claim.
Step 5: If the court is satisfied, it can allow for the distribution of the estate.