The Florida probate timeline differs for every case and for every district in the state, however, there are some general timelines that it’s important to familiarize yourself with. Today we’re going to discuss these timelines and what’s expected at each of the deadlines that fall within that timeline.
Florida Probate Timeline: The Approximate Timeline Of Your Probate
Ask anyone who’s gone through the probate process and they’ll tell you that it’s a long process that can be tedious at the best of times. Asking others can only give you so much information about the timeline involved in probate, however, many of the milestones in your probate case are dependent upon individual factors. With that said, there are some deadlines and timeframes that you should be aware of that will make sure that your probate case keeps moving through the probate courts.
The Initiation of Probate
The first probate deadline in the Florida probate timeline that you must be aware of is the ten-day deadline. This states that within ten days of learning of the death of a person, the individual in possession of the last will and testament of the deceased must file for probate. The size of the estate that is to be probated does not make a difference to this ten-day deadline. The initiation of the probate process must be done within the county where the deceased resided at the time of their death.
If no one is in possession of the last will and testament, any interested person who may be impacted by the probate proceedings may file to initiate probate proceedings.
Letters of Administration
In order for an estate representative to carry out their duties to the deceased, they must be officially recognized as the executor of the estate by the probate court. This is done through the granting of the letters of administration. It can take 1 to 4 weeks for the probate court to issue letters of administration to the executor of the estate. The actual length of time it takes for the letters of administration to be issued is largely dependent upon how long it takes for the executor to gather and provide the necessary information required by the application for the letters of administration as well as the court’s workload.
Publishing a Notice to Creditors
Once the probate process has been initiated, the next step in the Florida probate timeline is for the executor of the estate must publish a notice to creditors. While there is no specific timeline for this, the law does state that it must be done “promptly”. The notice must be published for two consecutive weeks. This notice must also state that creditors only have the periods of time established in Florida Statutes 733.702 and 733.710 to file their claims against the estate (90 days).
Proof of Death
The executor of the estate must provide proof of death of the estate holder within 3 months of the publication of the notice to creditors if the probate procedure takes place through formal administration or ancillary proceedings. For summary administration and disposition without administration proof of death must be filed before the entry of administration.
Filing a Verified Statement with the Court
Within four months of publishing the notice to creditors, the executor of the estate must file a verified statement with the court that states that they have performed a diligent search for all creditors who may have a claim against the Estate. They must also provide a list of names and addresses of any known creditors, and whether the creditor was served with the Notice of Creditors.
Establishing the Validity of the Will
If a will was left by the deceased, it’s the responsibility of the probate court to establish the validity of that will. There are multiple methods of affirming the validity of a will and depending on the method used, the time it takes to establish a will’s validity can vary.
Objection to the Accounting of the Estate Executor
Once the executor of the estate has taken an accounting of the estate, they must file their findings with the court. This notice of accounting may be disputed by all interested parties (who also receive a copy of the accounting of the estate). These interested parties then have 30 days when they can dispute the accounting provided. If the accounting of the estate is disputed, it can take a much longer time for the probate process to come to a close.
Receipts of Distribution
Once the assets of the estate have been used to pay creditor claims and outstanding taxes, the executor of the estate then assists with the distribution of assets from the estate. Once this distribution has taken place, the executor must then provide the court with receipts of distribution. This filing must be done within one year of the granting of the letters of administration.
Petition for Closure of the Estate
The next and final step is for the executor of the estate to petition for closure of the estate. Once granted, this signals the closure of the probate process.
How Long Does it Take For Probate in Florida?
So, on average, how long does it take for the complete Florida probate process? This timeline can vary greatly, but a simple probate case can take around 6 months to 12 months. Much more complicated probate cases or ones in which disputes are launched can extend the probate process considerably.
Have Questions About Your Florida Probate Timeline?
If you’re going through the Florida probate process and have questions about the timeline of your case or just need legal assistance in getting through the probate process, Weidner Law can help. Just pick up the phone and give us a call today at 727-954-8752 and we’ll help you through the probate court process.