Tampa Summary Administration Lawyer
Summary administration is a streamlined probate process that can sometimes be used for smaller, less complicated estates. The goal of summary administration is to make the probate process quicker and easier. However, it may not be the best choice in all situations.
An estate is not required to use summary administration, even if it is eligible. Instead, the representative of the estate can opt for formal administration.
When Can Summary Administration Be Used?
Summary administration isn’t available for many estates in Florida. In order to qualify for summary administration, one or more of the following criteria must be met:
- The Will does not state that formal administration is required.
- The estate is worth $75,000 or less.
- The deceased has been dead for more than two years.
What Is the Process of Summary Administration?
Unlike formal administration, a personal representative is not appointed in an estate going through summary administration. If no personal representative exists, the petition to begin the process can be brought by the spouse of the deceased, the beneficiaries of the estate, or someone acting on behalf of one of the beneficiaries (such as a legal guardian). The process is as follows:
- Petition for Summary Administration. This petition should identify assets, known liabilities, and beneficiaries of the estate.
- Notify creditors. The petitioner should perform a good-faith search for anyone owed money by the estate to notify them of the proceedings. Payment should be made from the assets of the estate.
- Order of Summary Administration. The court accepts that creditors have been paid and allows distribution of assets to beneficiaries.
Should I Choose Summary Administration or Formal Administration?
Summary administration is often the faster, cheaper option. However, if the estate is complicated in any way, if assets of the estate are not exempt, if the beneficiaries reside outside of Florida, or if the deceased owned property out of state or in a different Florida county, summary administration can get very complicated, very quickly.
In addition, the lack of a personal representative means there’s not necessarily a single person handling estate issues. This can lead to confusion and conflict among family members.
Summary administration may be appropriate only for estates with very few assets or certain types of assets, and no complicating factors. For all other estates, formal administration may wind up being a better choice.
Need some help determining what makes the most sense for your situation? Contact Messina Law Group today to request a consultation.