The last will is the legal document used to determine the division and distribution of a deceased’s estate upon death. Before transferring the title of the assets outlined in the will, the court must verify the document’s validity and issue an order for probate.
How long does probate take with a will in Florida? Read on to find out.
How Long Does Probate Take with a Will in Florida? – The Verdict
The total amount of time required to administer a deceased’s estate and distribute the remaining assets to the rightful heirs depends on the type of probate administration. Larger estates or estates involving complex circumstances require more time, while simpler estates require fewer procedures.
Florida Formal Administration
Most estates in Florida go through formal administration, the traditional form of probate within state jurisdiction. This type of probate involves various formalities and procedures until the distribution process is due.
In most cases, formal administration requires six to nine months to complete. Depending on the existence of legal disputes, unknown heirs, clouded property titles, overwhelming debts, and other issues, the required period may increase significantly.
To commence formal administration, a Florida court must appoint a personal representative (or executor). This individual serves as a point of contact between the court and the estate, managing the deceased’s affairs and ensuring efficient distribution of the assets.
After gathering the decedent’s assets and making an inventory, the executor must notify all parties interested in the estate. The next step is to notify creditors, which must lay their claims against the estate within 90 days from receipt of notice.
Depending on the validity of the claims, the executor can either respond or object to them. The executor must pay valid claims, file tax returns, and wrap up the estate for the distribution phase.
Once the estate has no pending issues, the executor can proceed with the distribution of the remaining assets to their legitimate heirs and beneficiaries. Please note that all the executor’s decisions must contribute to the best interest of the estate and follow the decedent’s wishes expressed in the will.
Florida Summary Administration
Summary administration is an efficient form of probate available in certain cases. The purpose is to speed up the administration of a deceased’s estate when it requires only minimal court supervision. This form of probate is available:
- If the decedent’s will does not contain explicit language requiring formal administration (testate estates)
- If the total value of the decedent’s estate subject to probate does not exceed $75,000, or
- If the decedent has been dead for more than two years
Under the right circumstances, summary administration requires up to six weeks to complete. To file for summary administration, all the decedent’s beneficiaries may need to sign to consent to the petition.
After signing the document, the responsible party must file the petition in court. In Florida, a probate court requires no longer than two or three weeks to issue an order of summary administration.