Summary Administration

Understanding the Requirements for Summary Administration under Florida LawLet Our Probate Attorneys help you with Summary Administration

Summary Administration is a procedure available for the administration of estates under $75,000 or when the decedent has been dead for more than two years. It avoids the necessity of the appointment of a personal representative. It is accomplished by petitioning the Court to order the distribution of the decedent’s assets to those entitled to it under the Will or under law. If the Court deems the petition to be proper, it will issue an Order of Summary Administration which authorizes the assets to be distributed to the proper beneficiaries.

It is a faster and more simplified alternative to a formal probate proceeding.

The purpose of the Summary of Administration is to streamline the probate process for smaller estates.  It may be completed in 4-6 weeks.

First, in order to qualify for a Summary Administration, the decedent’s last will and testament must not direct a Formal Probate Administration pursuant to Chapter 733 of the Florida Statutes.  If the will does, in fact, direct such a Formal Administration, the estate will not qualify for Summary Administration.  If the will is silent as to the type of administration, or in the event of an intestate estate, then one must look to see if the estate qualifies for one of the two scenarios enunciated in Section 735.201(2) of the Florida Statutes.

More often than not there are other factors, which may determine whether or not an estate should be administered summarily, or whether or not the estate should be administered formally.  Such other factors include (but are not limited to) the presence of creditors of the estate, multiple beneficiaries, assets in other jurisdictions, likelihood of contests, objections, or disputes, homestead issues, federal, state, and local tax matters, elective share matters, etc.  There are certainly many reasons why an estate, which appears to qualify for a Summary Administration at first, may best be handled using the Formal Probate Administration procedures.

Summary Administration is useful only when an administrator is not necessary.  The property is distributed directly to the beneficiaries by court order and cannot be sold from the estate.

A flaw with Summary of Administration is that even though title to the home will pass, it is not considered Marketable Title.  Marketable Title is one that is free from the threats of litigation.  Because of this, most title companies will require a determination of the homestead status on the house.  Once this is done, the deed to the home can be cleared up and the property will be able to be sold.  Another one is that a personal representative is not appointed.  In addition, all assets must be accounted for prior to filing.

If the decedent was a resident of Florida at the time of death we need the following:

  • The original will.  If the decedent died without a will the estate decedents according to the laws of intestacy to his or her family members.
  • The names and addresses of all beneficiaries, and a list of those who will sign the petition for summary administration.  If any beneficiary has died since the decedent died we must discuss how to handle their estate.
  • Certified copy of the death certificate.
  • Decedents who are not Florida residents and die leaving a will
  • The last will.
  • Petition to admit the will to probate.
  • Order admitting the will to probate.
  • Letters of administration issued to the executor of the estate.
  • Certified copy of the death certificate.

For more information, please call (305) 901-5628 or email us at jennie@jflawfirm.com.