Florida law provides for four alternate, abbreviated procedures other than Formal Administration.
Until January 1, 2002, Family Administration is generally available if beneficiaries consist solely of a surviving spouse, lineal descendants (i.e., children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, etc.) or lineal ascendants (i.e., parents, grandparents, great grandparents, etc.), and the value of the gross estate for federal estate tax purposes is less than $60,000.
Summary Administration is generally available if the value of the estate subject to probate in Florida (less property which is exempt from the claims of creditors) is not more than $25,000 or the decedent has been dead for more than two years. Beginning January 1, 2002, the $25,000 amount referred to above changes to $75,000.
Under Family Administration and Summary Administration, the persons who receive the estate assets remain liable for claims against the decedent for two years after the date of death. This period may be reduced in Summary Administration by publication of notice in a local newspaper. In a Family Administration, the two-year period may be reduced by using Formal Administration until all claims of creditors have been barred.
The third alternative to Formal Administration is “Disposition Without Administration.” This is available if estate assets consist solely of exempt property (as defined by law and the Florida Constitution) and non-exempt personal property, the value of which does not exceed the combined total of up to $6,000 in funeral expenses, plus the amount of all reasonable and necessary medical and hospital expenses incurred in the last 60 days of the last illness.
The fourth alternative to Formal Administration is only available for decedents who were not Florida residents as of death. This is to admit the will of a nonresident decedent to record, if certain requirements are met and the will devises Florida real estate or any right in Florida real estate. When admitted to record in any Florida county where the real estate is located, the “foreign will” serves to pass title to the real estate as if the will had been admitted to probate. This procedure is available only if either two years have passed from the decedent’s death or the domiciliary personal representative has been discharged and there has been no estate administration in Florida.