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Does Florida Have a Small Estate Affidavit Process?

The general answer is no, or at least not in the way that is helpful to most families.

We usually get this question when someone dies without a beneficiary of a life insurance policy, IRA or 401K. When the family is trying to claim these funds upon the death of a loved one, the financial company may send a claim form with a statement about a "small estate affidavit" that would be necessary in order for the family to receive the assets. Unfortunately, Florida does not have a small estate affidavit process, with one exception, which means the family will more than likely need to consult a probate attorney to help gain control of the assets.  

The one exception is that Florida does have a Disposition without Administration procedure, but this is generally used in very specific situations, typically where the decedent's funeral expenses are unpaid. Florida does have a Summary Administration process that can be useful for simple matters, however, but this usually means hiring an attorney. To learn more about the difference between the disposition without administration/summary administration, I have written more on the types of Probate in Florida that would be helpful if you cannot get control of an assets upon someone's death.

If your loved one has passed and you are trying to access their assets, our free guide to Navigating the Florida Probate Process will be very helpful. This guide reviews the Florida probate process from start to finish.

D. Rep DeLoach III
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Estate Planning and Board Certified Elder Law Attorney
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