Florida has a streamlined probate process when the value of the decedent’s probate estate is less than a certain amount, or $75,000, called summary administration. Besides having a lower value of the estate, there are other circumstances where this process will apply where the decedent has been dead more than two years. Relatives of a Florida nonresident who owned Florida real property can also use this process depending on the property’s value. Generally, the process is much faster than a formal administration. It can take a shorter time frame, as little as two weeks, though most cases take a month or two to complete. The timing depends on such factors as the amount of cases in the system when the case is filed. A person who only owned real property may qualify for this process also.
The court cost of filing varies throughout the state of Florida from $345 to $400. There are no publication costs or bond fees involved either. Courts prefer that an attorney prepare the proper paperwork in these cases, since with incorrectly prepared documents, there could be delays in processing. Further, if an error is made on a case involving real estate, there can be title defects later on when the property is sold or where title searches are needed. While some cases appear to qualify for summary administration, there still may be some reasons to pursue the formal administration process, for example where a will contest is possible or where there are multiple unknown creditors. It is important to discuss your situation with an experienced attorney before proceeding in any Florida estate administration process, as each case differs. Call our office at 813-279-6180 to discuss your probate/estate administration questions. We have successful experience handling estates throughout Florida.