The realistic time frame required to fully complete the Florida probate process is a common question of natural concern to many. Following are the answers to some Frequently Asked Questions about the role that time plays in Sunshine State probate.

Why is time so important in probate cases?

Although the party whose assets and debts must be distributed and settled is gone, many complex legal and financial issues live on. Taxes, interest, and asset depreciation continue despite the demise of the debtor/owner. Thus, prompt settlement of all financial matters is vital to preserve assets and minimize liabilities.

How long does Florida probate take?

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 (i.e.; life insurance proceeds or bank accounts) close much faster.
What other factors affect length of time to probate closure?

Mandatory waiting period

Florida statutes require all estates to remain open at least three months after being formal admittance 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.

Tax tardiness

Final closure of taxable estates is prohibited until final IRS approval of Estate Tax Form 706. In addition, applicable laws allow the PR or probate attorney up to nine months after a decedent’s death to file this document.

Other legalities often lead to delay

Probate closure can easily consume several years in cases involving complicated issues like will contests, very substantial assets, or numerous heirs and creditors. This is especially true if any such party(ies) should launch a legal appeal to any lower probate court ruling(s).

What is the best way to expedite estate closure?

The assistance of a qualified Florida probate attorney is the best means of ensuring expeditious estate closure. He or she 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.

For more information on successful Florida estate planning and probate, please contact the South Florida law firm of  Wild Felice & Pardo, P.A. at 954-944-2855 or via email at to schedule your free consultation.

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