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Summary Administration

Chapter 735 of the Florida Statutes is entitled “Small Estates” and it governs too abbreviated forms of probate: summary administration and disposition of personal property without administration.  According to Florida statute section 735.201, summary administration may be had in the administration of either a resident or nonresident decedent’s estate, when it appears:

1.       In a testate estate (one where the decedent had a will close parens, it will does not direct administration;

2.       the value of the entire probate estate in Florida, less the value of exempted property, does not exceed $75,000 OR the decedent has been dead for more than 2 years.  

The reason for the two-year rule is that there is a statute that limits claims against an estate to 2 years. Florida Statute § 733. 710 states that: “notwithstanding any other provision of the code, 2 years after the death of a person, neither the decedent’s estate, the personal representative, if any, nor the beneficiary shall be liable for any claim or cause of action against of the decedent, whether or not letters of administration have been issued, except as provided in this section.” (‘s the exceptions are for creditors who timely filed claims under Florida Statute § 733.705 and a purchase money security interests, e.g. mortgage). This “limitation on claims against estates” statute is called a statute of repose. It provides a date upon which (2 years after date of death) and the creditor’s action no longer exists, whether it has accrued by that date are not, so it entirely cuts off a creditor’s right of action. It is a stricter deadline that a statute of limitations because it may not be tolled by fraud, discovery of claim, etc.  

Disposition Without Administration:

The other abbreviated form of probate administration is called “disposition of personal property without administration.” This type of probate is technically not administration at all. It involves the filing of one pleading (this may be done by information affidavit or letter) to which the court will issue an order. It is available only if the decedent had only exempting personal property (‘s for example, a personal use automobile)’s and non-exempt property that does not exceed in value the sum of preferred funeral expenses (‘s i.e., $6000 max) and reasonable and necessary medical and hospital expenses of the last 60 days of illness.

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