Timing is everything when it comes to Sunshine State probate.

A quick resolution to the Florida probate process is the ointment to what could result in a rather protracted and costly legal process. This is achieved through the assistance of a qualified South Florida probate attorney who has the specialized skill, experience, and legal knowledge to avoid many time-consuming complications. Having a trained ally to advocate for your interests also ensures that all your legal rights and interests are fully preserved and adequately protected.

Why is time so important in probate cases?

After a person dies, his or her estate that is subject to probate must have his or her debts paid off and assets distributed among the heirs and beneficiaries. Taxes, interest, and asset depreciation must be accounted for. Due to many complex legal and financial issues, prompt settlement of all financial matters is vital in preserving assets and minimizing liabilities.

Without careful planning, Florida probate can take a long time.

The total length of time required to conclude estate settlement varies widely. Total value and type of the decedent’s assets are primary determinants of the time factor. For instance, a deceased might have left behind a lot of real estate, antiques, or jewelry. As illiquid assets, such items must be appraised and fully accounted for prior to final sale or other distribution. This can add considerably to the total time required to complete probate. Conversely, an estate containing few assets or those that are easily liquidated such as life insurance proceeds or bank accounts, close much faster.

In addition, Florida statutes require all estates to remain open at least three months after being formally admitted to probate court. This requirement is designed to afford creditors or other third parties an ample opportunity to file any adverse claims. Thus, even simple probate cases typically take at least 5-6 months to close. However, without an attorney to file this notice to creditors, the window of opportunity to file claims against the estate is greatly widened.

Finally, the IRS dictates how long the administration of a taxable estate drags on for. Final closure is prohibited until there is final IRS approval of the Estate Tax Form 706. In addition, applicable laws allow the personal representative or probate attorney up to nine months after a decedent’s death to file this document.

As you can see, probate closure can take years and years. Take remedial measures now by consulting an experienced attorney for advice and guidance.

For more information on successful Florida estate planning, please contact the South Florida law firm of Wild Felice & Partners, P.A. at (954) 944-2855 to schedule your free consultation. While our South Florida estate planning attorneys have the expertise in tax planning, as well as the designations of LL.M. and CPA that provide for the highest level of professional service, our firm aims to shed the tax attorney paradigm that estate planners are often pigeon-holed with and focus instead on the dynamic relationships between our clients and their loved ones.

Estate planning is about those friends and family left behind, which is why we first ask our clients what their wealth transfer and asset protection goals are and then explain how we can accomplish those goals together.

It’s a Wild world. Are you protected?SM