Which is Better? A Summary Administration or a Disposition of Personal Property without Administration?

What is Probate?

When someone dies, his assets need to be gathered and looked at by a court-supervised process.  His debts need to be paid and, if there is anything left, the assets can be distributed to beneficiaries. This process is called “probate”, and it is ruled in Florida by Florida Probate Statutes and Rules.

Two, no three types

Under Florida law, two types of formal probate administration are handled by the court: Formal Administration and Summary Administration.  But, there is also a non-court supervised administration proceeding called a “Disposition of Personal Property without Administration.”  This blog aims to distinguish between “Summary Administration” and the “Disposition of Personal Property without Administration.”

Probate Summary Administration

When is it used? Summary Administration is used if assets need to be distributed quickly.  It requires less effort and time than a Formal Administration, and it is cheaper to do.  For an estate to qualify, the value of the total estate (after creditor claims and less property value) must be less than $75,000.00.  Also, no prior attempt at administration has been made. This type of probate is used for smaller estates.

Disposition of Personal Property Without Administration

No Probate

When certain final costs are higher than the value of the property that needs to go through probate, probate may not be necessary.  This process can only be used when the deceased did not leave any real estate and if the only other assets available are exempt from creditors or don’t exceed funeral expenses and reasonable medical costs within the last 60 days of the person’s final illness.

Exempt property can include:

      • Household furnishings and appliances that did not have a value of more than $20,000.00 on the date of death
      • Two small motor vehicles
      •  Approved college tuition payments

Should the court be satisfied that the requirements have been met, and the person’s probate does not contain any more assets, it can authorize the distribution of personal property, tangible or intangible, to those it is entitled to.

Nothing Left Over

It is important to note here, that the deceased person must basically have nothing left over if one leaves the exempt property out of the equation.  The only value amount that can be left over to “probate” must be the funeral and medical expenses. Should the value of the probate be too high, it will not be able to qualify for a disposition without administration.

The main difference from a Summary Administration is the value of the assets left over.  In a Summary Administration, there can be up to $75,000.00 left over after the “free” items are subtracted.

Which One is Better?

Not Easy to Determine

It can be confusing to decide which the better option is:  A Summary Administration or a Disposition of Personal Property without Administration.  In the end, it boils down to the value of leftover assets.  It is not always straightforward to determine this.  

What Needs to be Reviewed?

Most importantly, any stock certificates, insurance checks, policies, and bank accounts, need to be reviewed.  It will determine if the probate qualifies for a Disposition of Personal Property without Administration, or not.

A List of Documents

Also, there is a list of documents that have to be in order, should the probate qualify.  We can help you get all of this together, as well as to complete the petition for the procedure.  Everything has to be presented to the presiding probate judge. If approved, an order for payment of funds will be issued so that assets can be distributed as outlined in the petition as mentioned earlier.


Both the Summary Administration, as well as the Disposition without Administration, need a lot of administrative work to fully complete the process.  It is not difficult to understand what each is.  But to prepare the paperwork, it is needed to know everything about the deceased, his/her debts and assets.  You also need to know precisely how assets must be distributed among heirs.

We can help you. At South Florida Legal Doc Prep Services, LLC we have the patience, dedication, expertise and the staff.  We can prepare all of the documents needed for Summary Administration, as well as a Disposition of Personal Property without Administration.  We will walk you through the process.

Contact us today for a free Quote