Navigating probate for small estates

On Behalf of | Jun 21, 2024 | Probate

In Florida, if someone passes away with an estate valued at $75,000 or less (excluding their home), they may qualify for a simpler probate process known as summary administration. This process omits the appointment of an executor and aims to expedite asset distribution.

Steps in summary administration

To start summary administration, you need to file a petition with the Florida court. This petition includes a list of all the things the person owned and how much they’re worth. Unlike regular probate, once the court approves everything, there’s usually no more need for court supervision.

Handling creditors and claims

Even with summary administration, it’s important to let all creditors know about the death. Any debts the person owed must be paid off before giving out assets to the people who inherit them. This ensures everything is settled fairly.

Alternatives for small estates

If an estate doesn’t qualify for summary administration, there are other simpler ways to handle probate, especially if there are only a few assets like a car or personal items. Bank accounts can go directly to chosen beneficiaries through Transfer-on-death (TOD) designations. Setting up a living trust before passing allows the executor to give out your assets as specified after you pass away. For very small estates, heirs can use a Small Estate Affidavit instead of probate to claim assets quickly.

Simplifying the process

Once the court approves everything, there’s usually no more need for court supervision. Understanding how probate works for small estates in Florida can make a difficult time a bit easier.