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When does a Florida estate qualify for summary administration?

If you're dealing with the estate of a loved one who was a resident of Florida when they died, you may find some of our state's probate laws confusing. Don't worry -- you're not alone.

You may have heard that smaller Florida estates can qualify for something called "summary administration." This is a simplified probate process that can save time and money if a loved one has assets that need to go through probate.

There are two ways an estate can qualify for summary administration:

  • The estate's value is no greater than $75,000 (for 2019).
  • The deceased passed away at least two years ago, and there's been no probate administration in those two years.

You may assume that your loved one's estate doesn't qualify because they owned a condo valued at well above $75,000. However, if their home is protected homestead real estate, it doesn't factor into that limit. Therefore, if their other assets don't total more than $75,000, the estate may qualify for summary administration.

Another Florida law you should know about concerns creditors. They can't make claims against an estate for any debts accrued more than two years ago. However, that's only if they weren't already trying to collect on a debt. Those administering an estate must still make a "good faith" attempt to locate all of a decedent's creditors.

There are ways that people can develop an estate plan that helps their heirs avoid probate. Revocable trusts are a popular means of doing this. That's something to consider if you don't yet have an estate plan for yourself.

If you're administering a loved one's estate here in Florida, it's wise to have the guidance of an experienced attorney. They can advise you regarding Florida probate laws and the best way to proceed based on your individual situation.

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