Summary Administration In Probate

Since 1974, we have assisted families both in Florida and from out of state with all types of probate and trust administration, including summary probate administration. Summary administration proceedings (also known as expedited probate) are available in small Florida estates when:

  • A formal administration is not warranted by circumstances or directed by the decedent's last will.
  • The value of the property subject to administration in Florida (less property exempt from creditors' claims) does not exceed $75,000 or the decedent has been dead for more than two years.

Caveat: 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.

The following documents are required in a summary administration proceeding:

1. Decedents who die as residents of Florida

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

  • The original will. If the decedent died without a will, the estate descends 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 prepared by this office. If any beneficiary has died since the decedent died, we must discuss how to handle that person's estate.
  • Certified copy of the death certificate

2. Decedents who are not Florida residents and die leaving a will

If the decedent died leaving a will that was probated in another state, we need copies, certified by the clerk of the probate court where the will was probated, of:

  • 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

We also need names and addresses of all beneficiaries and a list of those who will sign the petition for summary administration prepared by this office. If any beneficiary has died since the decedent died, we must discuss how to handle that person's estate.

If the decedent died leaving a will and there was no probate proceeding, we will need the original will to file here in Lee County and a certified copy of the death certificate. We will also need names and addresses of all beneficiaries and a list of those who will sign the petition for summary administration prepared by this office. If any beneficiary has died since the decedent died we must discuss how to handle that person's estate.

  • Creditors: The law requires that the issue of the decedent's creditors be addressed in the petition filed with the court. If the decedent has been dead for more than two years, creditors are barred from filing claims against the estate. If the decedent has been dead for less than two years, the petition for summary administration will contain a statement that all creditors have been paid and there are no claims against the estate. If there are known creditors, we must discuss how they will be handled.
  • Estate taxes: Most estates will pay no state or federal estate taxes. If the estate is subject to estate taxes, we must discuss how they will be handled.

3. Decedents who are not Florida residents and die without leaving a will

If the decedent died in another state without leaving a will, we need:

  • A certified copy of the death certificate
  • The names and addresses of all beneficiaries and a list of those who will sign the petition for summary administration prepared by this office. If any beneficiary has died since the decedent died, we must discuss how to handle that person's estate.

4. In all cases

The following applies to all summary administration cases:

Inventory of assets: We need a full list of assets subject to this proceeding and their values at the date of death. These items will be listed in the petition and the order. The order will state that the items are the property of the beneficiaries.

  • Creditors: If the decedent has been dead for more than two years, creditors are barred from filing claims against the estate. Otherwise, the law requires that the issue of the decedent's creditors be addressed in the petition filed with the court. If the decedent has been dead for less than two years, the petition for summary administration will contain a statement that all creditors have been paid and there are no claims against the estate. If there are known creditors, we must discuss how they will be handled.
  • Estate Taxes: Most estates will pay no state or federal estate taxes. If the estate is subject to federal estate taxes, we must discuss how they will be handled.
  • Procedure: Upon receipt of the documents, we will prepare the paperwork to file the estate here in Lee County. We will send the documents to the designated person for signature prior to filing. Unless other arrangements are made, the fees and costs are payable at the time the documents are signed and returned to this office prior to filing with the court.

The process will consume approximately one month from the date we receive all of the required documents.

Contact our Cape Coral, Florida, summary probate administration attorneys.