When an individual dies, there are various ways in which his or her estate may be administered under Florida Law. Of all the various types of Florida probate proceedings (legal processes in which the decedent’s properties are collected and distributed among creditors and beneficiaries), Summary Administration is typically shorter and less expensive than a Formal Administration. Although it may seem like an easier way to administer a loved one’s estate, Summary Administration is not approved in many cases because approval depends on a variety of factors, including the size of the estate, the decedent’s asset profile, the number of creditors and beneficiaries, whether unknown creditors may exist, and whether any disputes exist that may lead to estate litigation.
The Miller Elder Law Firm focuses on the area of Elder Law and understand that the passing of a loved one presents many emotional challenges. Our experienced Elder Law attorneys will provide you with compassionate and competent assistance in the matters of estate administration so that you have the time to focus on your family during this process. Contact the Miller Elder Law Firm to ensure your loved one’s estate is managed with a proper estate administration proceeding by calling (352) 379-1900 or contact us online (millerelderlawfirm.com).
Characteristics of a Summary Administration
Whether Summary Administration is the appropriate estate proceeding for your loved one’s estate is a matter that only the assistance of a competent Elder Law attorney may help you determine. Some of the characteristics pertinent to Summary Administration include:
● Decedent’s estate does not exceed $75,000 (not including exempt property).
● All of the decedent’s debts have been paid, or arrangements for their payment satisfactory to the creditor have been made.
● Decedent has been dead for more than two years.
● May be used for either a resident or nonresident decedent’s estate.
● Short proceeding, typically between 1 and 5 months.
Although summary administration is preferred by many people, the following should be taken into consideration:
● Does not work in the case of decedents with missing or minor heirs.
● Not viable if assets or debts of the deceased are unknown.
● Not every estate is eligible for summary administration.
● All assets should be accounted for before filing.
● Not viable if the decedent has known creditors who the beneficiaries have not agreed to pay. (Unless no creditor timely files a claim within the three month period since a Notice to Creditors was published, or if the two year statute of limitations for creditors to file claims has expired.)
Understanding a Summary Administration Process
A typical, simple, and undisputed summary administration process consists of the following steps:
1. Beneficiaries sign a petition (prepared by an attorney) requesting the court to admit the Last Will. The petition must include that the beneficiaries know of no debts owed by the decedent, or that all the debts have been or will be paid to creditors. This petition must also request the judge to direct the distribution of the decedent’s assets.
2. The attorney files the Petition for Summary Administration, Death Certificate, and Last Will and Testament along with a request for the court to direct payment to creditors and beneficiaries.
3. The Judge will sign an Order of Administration, a document that directs the distribution of the assets to the beneficiaries. This officially transfers ownership of the decedent’s assets to the beneficiaries.
4. If creditors(known or reasonably ascertainable) are not paid, then the beneficiaries who received distributions are personally liable to pay those creditors up to the extent of the distribution they received. The creditor has 2 years from the decedent’s death to file a claim unless the order of Summary Administration is published. Then, the claim period is reduced to 3 months.
If someone lives and dies in another state, owning property in Florida, an ancillary administration must be opened in order to properly sell or distribute the property owned here.
If you need legal representation for a Summary Administration contact the Miller Elder Law Firm for an initial free consultation at (352) 379-1900 or contact us online (millerelderlawfirm.com).
Setting up trusts is another form of estate administration and estate planning during an individual’s life. A trust refers to an entity in which a trustee holds and manages property for the benefit of another. The grantor (individual who creates the trust) can name himself or herself as trustee. He also names a successor trustee to take over and manage the trust after the grantor becomes incapacitated, resigns, or dies. Trusts can be used to manage property during and after a person’s life, and after the Grantor’s death, and avoids delays and substantial costs associated with the probate process after death.
The Miller Elder Law Firm Difference
As Elder Law attorneys, we take pride in providing our clients with personal service. We are honored to handle our client’s estate and serve them as we would do with our own. The Miller Elder Law Firm, PA attorneys are highly qualified and possess experience in the following actions regarding estate administration:
● Estate Planning
● Power of Attorneys
● Establishment, Modifications, or Continuation of Trust
● Will Contests
● Fiduciary Liability
● Defending the trust against claims, such as creditors or excluded heirs
Take the step towards protecting the future of your loved ones and ensure you are honoring their wishes. Allow the Miller Elder Law Firm attorneys help you protect your estate by calling at (352) 379-1900 or contact us online (millerelderlawfirm.com).