Florida Probate Summary Administration

Florida probate summary administration is a condensed form of the Florida probate for which appointing a personal representative is not a requirement. Florida probate summary administration is less time consuming and does not requires less effort and money as compared to the formal administration.

To qualify for a Florida probate summary administration the estate must fulfill certain requirements. Florida probate summary administration is available in cases where the deceased has been dead for at least two years. It is also applicable to estates whose value is less than $75,000 in the state of Florida excluding the value of the property that is not subject to creditor’s claims.

Florida probate summary administration works the same way a formal administration does. A petition is filed in court to begin the process. This petition for Florida probate summary administration can be filed by any of the beneficiaries or by someone nominated as the personal representative by the deceased in his/her will. It must be signed however, by the surviving spouse for verification purposes.

The rules of the Florida probate summary administration state that complete facts proving the estate is eligible. A list of all assets with their value, information on the debt owed by the estate and a plan of the distribution of assets must also be attached. When the court is satisfied with the petition and verifies the estate qualifies for Florida probate summary administration an order for the distribution of assets is issued. The assets are distributed immediately amongst the creditors and beneficiaries after order issuance.

Required Probate Forms

In most cases the executor appointed for the will applies for the probate and fills all the Florida probate forms. In some cases, a spouse or relative may also serve as an executor. The procedure of a probate calls for submitting many special Florida probate forms and official will to the local probate or Supreme courts. There are many Florida probate forms required and each requires information in detail. The procedure and the Florida probate forms can be downloaded from the Florida courts website.

Listed below are certain Florida probate forms required for a typical case:

  • A submission form for the estate grant
  • An affidavit for the simple or complex estate of the decedent
  • Two copies of the will certificate search notice which can be requested through the Vital Statistics Agency by filling an Application for Search of Wills Notice Form
  • An affidavit of the delivery confirming that all persons concerned were notified of the probate application
  • An affidavit for all the assets and liabilities of the applicant
  • The original copy of the will with valid signatures. In case there is no original, a copy will serve the purpose.
  • Proof of payment of the probate fees.

Additional Florida probate forms may also be required if there are issues related to the will, for dispensing of notice, in case the executor renounces his/her responsibilities and other out of the ordinary cases. The full set of Florida probate forms is available on the Ministry of Justice website.

Probate Rules for No Will

If a person dies in Florida without leaving a will then the Florida probate rules no will state that all assets will be inherited by the closes relatives under the succession laws. A few details of the Florida probate rules no will have been explained below.

According to the Florida probate rules no will the assets which can be bequeathed to spouses, relatives or creditors have to be those which could be passed on through a will. This typically includes any assets over which the decedent had sole ownership. Some assets however, cannot be passed on to someone upon death even under the Florida probate rules no will. These include property that has been donated to a trust or charity, proceeds from life insurance, IRA funds, 401K or any other type of retirement savings, securities or bank accounts made payable or transferrable on death, or property owned with someone else or under tenancy.

If you die before you get a chance to write a will or have no living family members then under the Florida probate rules no will, the state can “escheat” your property. However, the chances of this happening are very low as the Florida probate rules no will are designed to pass on the assets to any living relative. Under the Florida probate rules no will, the property can be passed on to aunts, uncles, great aunts, great uncles, nephews, nieces or cousins of any degree. They could also be transferred to children, siblings or parents of a deceased spouse.

Probate Fees

One of the most frequently asked questions is regarding the Florida probate fees costs. Most people are concerned about how much it will cost them to file the petitions and proceed with the probate. If the size of the estate is small compared to the Florida probate fees costs then it is probably not worthwhile to pursue the case.

The biggest Florida probate fees cost is the attorney’s charges. There might be other costs such as the filing fee, publication expenses and accounting fees but it is not as hefty as the fee charged by the attorney representing the personal representatives for an estate. Because in most cases hiring an attorney is mandatory in the Sunshine state, the fees are an unavoidable portion of the Florida probate fees costs.

In the state of Florida the attorney is eligible to receive a reasonable amount as compensation which is payable from the property and assets. This means a huge portion of the Florida probate fees costs come out of the estate assets and therefore there should be enough to cover them.

The Florida probate fees costs charged by the attorney for a probate in Florida is agreed upon prior to the proceedings in an arrangement with the personal representative. However, since the amount is paid out of the money received by an heir or beneficiary, the state decrees the expenses should be reasonable. The court has the right to reduce the attorney’s compensation if he demands an unreasonable amount.

Probate Statutes

The Florida probate statutes state that evidence of death and status of the decent be proven in court. This can be done in a number of ways. The most common one is providing an authentic copy of the death certificate which has been issued by an official authority of the hospital, old home, sanatorium or any health facility where the death took place.

If the death certificate is not available then a copy of the by Florida probate statutes a record or report filed by a local or foreign government agency which states and confirm the death or presumed death of the decedent along with a mention of the all the relevant details such as specific dates, circumstances and places.

Any person who has not been seen in his/her place of residence for a continued period of up to 5 years with no reasonable explanation for the absence even after prolonged inquiry and diligent search can be presumed dead as per the Florida probate statutes. The date of death is presumed as the ending of the five year period and if there is enough evidence to prove their life was in danger then the period can be reduced. The petition for the determination of the decedent’s status can be filed in their area of residence if he/she was not living in Florida. The Florida probate statutes on proof of death are not applicable to those cases where circumstantial evidence can prove the person passed away before the completion of the five-year period.

Avoiding Probate in Florida

You can save your family from the distressing process of probate by taking a few precautions during your lifetime. One easy way of avoiding probate Florida is setting up a living trust. All the assets can be put in a trust with a beneficiary named who will receive it after your death. However, a professional attorney specialized in estate planning should be consulted before taking this step.

Another method of avoiding probate Florida is to open a bank account which is transferrable on death of the account holder. This entails naming the beneficiary payable on death and notifying the bank about the decision. You can even buy a life insurance policy which is the path many people take for avoiding probate Florida. The designated beneficiary receives all proceeds from the insurance policy directly and will not have to go through the process of a probate. However, if the estate is named as the beneficiary then the amount will be added to the property and the personal representative will have to apply for the probate.

If you are keen on avoiding probate Florida then investing is securities like stocks and bonds is a good way to do it. These securities can be transferred to another person on death if it is specified. Otherwise a joint account or ownership with the right for survivorship is also a common way for people to decide who will receive their property and save it from a probate. On the death of one owner, the surviving owner can claim sole ownership.

Probate Code

The Florida probate code calls for evidence of death of the decent in the form of an authenticated death certificate or a record issued by the local or foreign government authority confirming the death or presumed death of a person. Under the Florida probate code a person can also be presumed dead if he/she has not been seen in his domicile over the past five years with no reasonable explanation for the disappearance after prolonged search and inquiries. The death of a person may also be presumed in cases where they were exposed to extreme danger in which case the five year period advised by the Florida probate code becomes void.

The Florida probate code states that any person who has cause to believe a probate of the Last Will and Testament of a person will be administered without notifying them can file for a caveat in court. The caveat can be filed before the death or after the death of the person except in the case of creditors. The creditors are only eligible to file for a caveat after the person has died.

When the caveat is filed under the Florida probate code, the court will not allow the Last Will and Testament to be registered for a probate or a personal representative will be appointed until the interested person is sent formal notice regarding the filing of the petition and has taken a part in the proceedings of the probate.

Florida Probate Records

The Florida probate records are a collection of wills, case files and related documents sent in by probate courts from all counties of Florida. Generally, the probates are recorded in the county the property or estate is situated in. The content of the Florida probate records may vary from county to county.

Florida probate records include all petitions, accounts, inventories, decrees and court documents. They can be used to find the name of the decedent, name of all their heirs such as spouse, offspring, siblings and other relatives and friends. The Florida probate records also contain names of any witnesses presented, address of the estate, executor of the will and dates of major events such as time of death.

Florida probate records are used to find relatives and ancestors by most people. They can also be used to learn about legal guardians and adopted parents of any children mentioned in the case. The Florida probate records also serve as proof of death dates in most cases where the birth and death records do not exist or have been lost.

The Florida probate records can also be used for historical purposes such as census, land transactions and occupational records of a county. The information given in the Florida probate records is reliable as it is reported by the executor and testator. People have built their entire family trees using the Florida probate records as it mentions second marriages and any children, step or blood produced from the coupling.