Florida has simplified its probate law for situations where a decedent dies leaving behind a very small estate. A disposition without administration is the probate process used to quickly transfer the ownership of the decedent’s small estate to an heir or beneficiary.
All the heir or beneficiary needs to do is petition a court to allow this transfer.
Florida’s Strict Requirements
Florida State Statute 735.301 speaks to the requirements for qualifications of the disposition of personal property without administration in the state. Real property cannot be transferred through a disposition without administration in the State of Florida. As well, medical expenses covered by insurance and any pre-paid funeral expenses do not qualify.
Florida’s disposition without administration
The disposition without administration process involves the person who paid funeral and/or final medical bills of the decedent getting reimbursed using the assets in the decedent’s estate. Heirs or beneficiaries can only benefit from this process if:
- The decedent did not leave behind any real estate or real property
- The total amount of expenses is lesser in value compared to the value of the decedent’s assets
- The personal property is exempt from claims by creditors
Examples of exempt property include appliances and furnishings worth more than $20,000, two of the decedent’s personal motor vehicles, and approved college tuition payments.
However, just because disposition without administration is a faster and simpler way to transfer a small estate does not mean that there are no risks. In fact, this process is not always practical, which is why you need to consult an experienced Florida probate lawyer so that you can make the right decision for your situation.
How to Apply for the Florida Disposition Without Administration
Once you have filed a Disposition of Personal Property without Administration form with the court, the court will determine whether your case is eligible. If your case qualifies, the court will authorize the transfer of the decedent’s property to you.
The process can only be completed successfully with the following documentation:
- The death certificate of your deceased loved one
- The decedent’s original will
- A copy of the funeral bills paid by the beneficiary or heir
- Signed consents from heirs if applicable
- A petition for Disposition without Administration
- Proof of payment of the court’s filing fee
- A document listing all the assets that belonged to the decedent
- A Creditor Statement
- A copy of the receipts and medical bills for the decedent’s medical expenses that were paid in the last 60 days of the decedent’s life
You may also need to present a statement that the decedent was not married and had no children if applicable.
Things You Need to do When Filing the Petition
Write the word “RE:” before you the name of the deceased person. The following are other things you need to do include in the petition:
- Your full name, contact details, and address
- Tick the box that indicates that a Will is available
- Provide a mailing address when you are listing estate assets
- A complete list of beneficiaries in descending order
- Attach copies of medical bills and funeral expenses
You have to pay the required fees and file the documents at the clerk’s office. After the judge receives all the documents, you will receive a document that authorizes you to start the process of distributing assets to beneficiaries.
Probate law can be fairly complex, and it is almost always recommended that you proceed with the guidance of an attorney.
While the creation of the Disposition of Personal Property Without Administration was designed to simplify small estates, our attorneys can still help guide you through any potential pitfalls. If you are seeking this help, please contact Elder Law today.