Even if a person owns nominal assets upon his or her death, the property must still be probated in Florida. It may not be necessary to proceed with full probate, however, if the estate is eligible for one of the simplified processes. Consult with a Coral Springs probate lawyer to determine whether your situation qualifies.
Disposition Without Administration: A person who has paid for the decedent’s final expenses for funeral and medical costs may be entitled to recover these amounts by filing for Disposition Without Administration. However, this process can only be used when:
- The deceased didn’t own any real estate upon death; and,
- The only assets of the probate estate are either exempt from the claims of creditors or the value of the assets do not exceed the amount of the final expenses.
Summary Administration: Under certain circumstances, an estate might be eligible for a simplified process for managing assets. Summary Administration may be an option if:
- The person died more than two years ago; or,
- The value of probate assets is less than $75,000.
Probate Versus Non-Probate Assets: For purposes of both Disposition Without Administration and Summary Administration, it’s important to understand the difference between probate and non-probate assets. Property that is not subject to the probate process would be anything that the decedent owned jointly with another person, because this type of asset passes to the surviving owner under a survivorship clause. Also, any account or insurance policy that designates a “pay on death” beneficiary is a non-probate asset, because it passes to the named person upon death. Any other asset is a probate asset.
While both of these probate procedures are intended to be simplified, the rules regarding probate and non-probate assets can be complex. A Coral Springs probate lawyer can advise you on the distinctions and assist with managing the estate. Please contact the Coral Springs office of attorney Richard S. Pillinger at (954) 755-5199 with questions or to discuss the probate process in more detail.