In Florida, the processing speed of probate depends on many factors, such as the total amount of the decedent’s assets, the number of beneficiaries involved, the person appointed as the personal representative, and whether disputes are affecting the process.
Typically, formal probate proceedings in Florida may take from six to eighteen months to conclude. However, there are feasible ways to speed up the process in a time and cost-effective manner.
Feasible Ways to Speed Up Probate in Florida – The Essentials
Promptly Depositing the Decedent’s Original Will
The decedent’s relative in control of the original last will can speed up the process by depositing the document with probate court once he/she learns about the decedent’s passing.
As outlined by Florida Statutes §732.901 (1), “the custodian of a will must deposit the will with the clerk of the court having venue of the estate of the decedent within 10 days after receiving information that the testator is dead.”
In many cases, the opening of an estate is delayed because the decedent’s relatives either have no idea where the last will is located or linger too much to file the document with the probate court. Accordingly, it may delay the entire process by several weeks (or even months).
Personal Representatives Can Help to Speed Up Probate
The personal representative is a core aspect of the probate process. Hence, if the person appointed as the personal representative is not efficient and organized, the process will certainly be delayed.
Additionally, there are several good practices that a personal representative can leverage in the process’s initial phase to ensure an efficient probate proceeding. In this regard, the personal representative can speed up probate by:
- Quickly identifying and gathering the decedent’s probate assets
- Determining the beneficiaries and creditors of the estate as soon as possible
- Sending out the required notices to all interested parties on time
- Immediately issuing Notice to Creditors to expedite the mandatory period for creditors’ claims
- Observing and meeting all required deadlines in a diligent manner
Beneficiaries May Also Help to Speed Up Probate
Undoubtedly, the beneficiaries’ speed to respond to the notices involved in the process certainly affects the entire probate timeline.
When the beneficiaries respond to the notices issued by the court and the personal representative as soon as possible, it is possible to waive certain process’ formalities and timelines.
Another opportunity for beneficiaries to help speed up the process happens when the estate is about to be closed. Generally, each beneficiary will be sent a waiver asking them to waive their rights to receive a formal estate accounting.
If all the beneficiaries decide to waive the formal accounting, it is possible to save time and money, as well as close the estate much faster than if a formal accounting was required.
However, it is crucial to note that waiving a formal accounting is not a proper choice in all cases, especially if there are disputes between the parties involved in the probate process.
Avoiding Probate Litigation
The probate process will certainly be delayed if someone decides to file a lawsuit regarding the decedent’s last will, the personal representative, or any other aspect under probate.
Also, creditors’ litigation, spousal rights litigation, and challenges to the administration of a personal representative may preclude a fast probate processing. As any litigation must be resolved before probate can be closed, avoiding lawsuits is fundamental to ensure a time-effective probate process.