Summary administration is exactly what it sounds like, an abbreviated form of probate that can dramatically expedite the legal process of administering the decedent’s estate. Unfortunately, summary administration is only available under the following two circumstances:
1. If the value of the decedent’s estate, exclusive of exempt property, does not exceed $75,000.00; or,
2. If the decedent has been dead more than two years at the time probate administration is filed, regardless of the value of the estate.
Under the first category, the petitioner must make a diligent search for creditors and must either satisfy any known debts or provide formal notice to the creditor. The petitioner must be able to allege in the petition that the estate is not indebted or that all creditor claims are barred. When there are multiple creditors, summary administration is not a practical alternative to formal administration.
Under the second category, creditor claims are not an issue as all claims are barred by Florida statute after the decedent has been dead for more than two years. Thus, regardless of the value of the estate, creditors are barred from seeking a claim against the estate.
A disadvantage to summary administration is that it does not include the appointment of a personal representative. This means that all assets must be readily available for disbursement when the petition if filed. This can sometimes be problematic, especially when dealing with various financial institutions and brokerage firms.