Question 1: What is a small estate probate?
Like other states, Florida allows for an abbreviated probate process if an estate meets specific requirements. In the formal probate process there are a lot of specific steps that the estate administrator has to take, including going before the probate court on several occasions. Small estate probate is much less stringent, allowing for a much quicker and easier settling of a deceased person’s estate.
Question 2: What qualifies as a small estate?
In Florida the estate has to be valued at no more than $75,000 in order for it to qualify for small estate probate, known as summary administration in the state. You have to file for summary administration within two years from the date of the decedent’s death. If the court grants the summary administration request, you can immediately distribute the estate assets.
Question 3: How do you file for small estate probate?
You have to ask a Florida probate court for its permission before you begin distributing a deceased person’s assets through summary administration. To do this you will have to file the appropriate court documents and include the required details. Your estate planning attorney will be able to tell you what you need to do, but in general you need to be able to convince the court that the estate is not too big, that there are no estate debts, and you know who stands to inherit the property. If you cannot do this you will not be able to go through summary administration.