While many Florida estates must go through the probate process, the state offers two types of probate administration: formal administration and summary administration. In general, summary administration is a simplified process that certain estates may have the option of going through.

Below, we review the legal requirements for summary administration in Florida:

Eligibility requirements for summary administration

Currently, an estate must be valued at $75,000 or less to qualify for summary administration. Florida does not count the individual’s permanent residence toward this limit. In addition, the state approves summary administration by default for estates in which the person died two or more years ago.

How the process works

If the personal representative of the estate believes it may qualify for summary administration, he or she can file a Petition for Summary Administration. If the will did not name a personal representative, any beneficiary named in the will can file this petition as well.

This petition requires details about all estate assets and their values. The person who submits the petition must also submit a copy of the deceased person’s will and the fee (about $400 in most Florida counties).

Once the court has this information, the judge will create a legal order that allows assets to transfer from the estate to the beneficiaries. When the estate does not qualify for summary administration, the executor must initiate the formal administration process.

The summary administration process can take just a few weeks compared to several months to years for formal probate. However, for more complex estates, probate ensures the distribution of assets in accordance with the deceased individual’s wishes.