By:  David Berman, Esq., of Barry Miller Law, Offices Orlando.

The passing of a loved one is a trying time. Often, relatives of the decedent are left with more questions than answers when it comes to dealing with the decedent’s property, otherwise known as their estate. Fortunately, Barry Miller Law can provide guidance with respect to administering the decedent’s estate.

In Florida, there are two main types of estate administration:  formal and summary. Generally speaking, summary administration is a faster, less costly method of administering the estate of a deceased person than formal administration. However, the decedent’s estate must meet certain criteria in order to be eligible for summary administration.

First, if the decedent died with a will, which is called “testate,” the will must not direct that it be administered pursuant to Chapter 733 of the Florida Statutes, which governs formal administration. See § 735.201(1), Fla. Stat. In other words, so long as the will does not expressly require formal administration, the first requirement for summary administration is satisfied.

Next and most notably is a two-prong analysis of the estate to determine if it qualifies for summary administration. First, the value of the entire estate subject to administration in Florida, minus the value of property exempt from the claims of creditors, must not exceed $75,000.00. See § 735.201(2), Fla. Stat. This means that as long as the value of the estate is below $75,000.00, less exempt property, the estate qualifies for summary administration. For example, if the only asset of the decedent was their homestead property, which is exempt from the claims of creditors, then regardless of the value of the house, the estate qualifies for summary administration.

The second method of qualifying for summary administration is if the decedent has been dead for more than two years. See § 735.201(2), Fla. Stat. In the event the administration of the decedent’s estate is not commenced until at least two years after the death of the decedent, then the estate qualifies for summary administration regardless of the value of the estate subject to administration in Florida.

Barry Miller Law is familiar with estate administration including both formal and summary administration. If you, or someone you know, has legal questions regarding estate administration, contact Barry Miller Law for assistance at 407-423-1700 or email us at info@BarryMillerLaw.com.