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Do all Florida estates have to go through formal probate?

If you have been left in charge of a loved one’s estate following his or her death, you may feel overwhelmed at the prospect of a drawn-out probate process. We at Burandt Adamski Feichthaler & Sanchez PLLC are familiar with the state of Florida’s probate laws, and we have helped many clients navigate the efficient administration of their loved one’s estates, so they can focus on grieving and moving forward.

Probate is the court-supervised transference of your loved one’s assets to those who are entitled to them. This includes his or her creditors and beneficiaries. While this process is important for passing on ownership of an estate’s assets and settling any final debts, there are alternative options to going through this formal process, which can take several months or more to finalize.

The Florida Bar points out that if no prior administration has occurred for your loved one’s estate and he or she has been deceased for two years or more, then you may seek a summary administration for his or her estate. This option is also available when the value of the decedent’s estate is $75,000 or less and his or her debts are resolved or there are no creditor objections. A summary administration is a simplified procedure that may help you avoid the need for any court hearings and enables you to distribute the assets of your loved one’s estate through less involved methods.

Disposition without administration is another alternative to the formal probate proceedings. You may only employ this option, however, if the only assets held by your loved one’s estate qualify as exempt from creditors’ collections and the probate process. Further, the value of any nonexempt personal property cannot exceed the amount of any reasonable medical expenses incurred during your loved one’s last 60 days or funerary costs.

Understanding the options available to avoid a drawn-out probate process may be key to helping minimize your family’s stress when handling a deceased loved one’s estate and ensuring an efficient and effective administration of his or her affairs. More information about probate administration is available on our web page.

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