Probate is a court-supervised procedure that happens when someone dies owning assets titled solely in his/her name. During probate, the court adjudicating the case will verify the validity of the decedent’s will and administer the distribution of the estate subject to probate.
The probate process involves identifying and collecting all of the decedent’s assets, paying any outstanding debt(s), settling any tax liabilities, and only then distributing the decedent’s remaining assets as inheritance.
Nonetheless, is there a way to expedite probate in Florida? Keep reading to find out.
Does Florida Have Expedited Probate? – An In-Depth Guide
Depending on the date of death, the size and value of the decedent’s estate, and the existence of a well-crafted estate plan, an estate might not go through probate.
Disposition Without Administration
Under Florida law, particularly small estates that qualify for disposition without administration must not go through probate. Florida Statutes §735.301 provide that “no administration shall be required or formal proceedings instituted upon the estate of a decedent leaving only:
- Personal property exempt under the provisions of section 732.402
- Personal property exempt from the claims of creditors under the Constitution of Florida, and
- Nonexempt personal property the value of which does not exceed the sum of the amount of preferred funeral expenses and reasonable and necessary medical and hospital expenses of the last 60 days of the last illness”
According to Florida Statutes §732.402, probate exempt property includes:
- Household furniture, furnishings, and appliances in the decedent’s usual place of abode up to a net value of $20,000 as of the date of death
- Two motor vehicles (…), which do not, individually as to either such motor vehicle, have a gross vehicle weight in excess of 15,000 pounds, held in the decedent’s name and regularly used by the decedent or members of the decedent’s immediate family as their personal motor vehicles
- All qualified tuition programs authorized by section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986
- All benefits paid pursuant to section Fla. Stat. §112.1915 (death benefits regarding teachers and school administrators)
If the estate of a deceased person qualifies for disposition without administration, the entire process to administer the estate usually may take place within a few weeks.
If the total value of the decedent’s estate does not exceed $75,000 or the decedent has been dead for more than two years, the estate qualifies for summary administration. If there is no probate litigation or disputes among beneficiaries, the timeframe for summary administration is usually three to six months in most counties.
It is crucial noting that non-probate assets are excluded from the computation to assess whether a deceased person’s estate qualifies for summary administration, which includes:
- All assets described by Fla. Stat. §732.402
- Property owned under tenancy by the entirety or joint tenancy with rights of survivorship
- Any property transferred into a trust
- Retirement accounts
- Bank/brokerage accounts under joint tenancy
- Bank/brokerage accounts with payable-on-death (POD) and transfer-on-death (TOD) beneficiaries
- Life insurance or brokerage-related accounts with beneficiaries that are not the decedent
- Protected homestead property
Ultimately, if an estate qualifies neither for summary administration nor disposition without administration, it will likely undergo formal administration, the traditional (and longest) form of probate in Florida.
Do You Want to Avoid Probate in Florida? – Immediately Contact an Expert Estate Planning Attorney
As long as you have the proper legal tools in place, you can protect your estate and loved ones from probate in Florida. Waste no time – call Attorney Romy B. Jurado today at (305) 921-0976 or email [email protected] to schedule a consultation.