How Long Does The Probate Process Take In Florida?
Probate is known to be time-consuming, but how long does the process actually take? Is the length of the probate process measured in weeks, months, or years?
It is advisable to consult with a St. Petersburg probate litigation lawyer to review your situation and determine how long the probate process will take in your specific
8 Factors That Affect the Length of the Probate Process
The probate timeline depends on a multitude of factors. In some cases, it is possible to settle an estate within a few weeks, while other estates may take many months or even years to close the estate.
The duration of the probate process depends on the following eight factors.
- Is Probate Required in Your Case?
Many estates can avoid probate. Whether or not an estate can avoid probate depends on the decedent’s estate planning documents. For example, if the decedent transferred their assets into a Living Trust, probate may not be necessary because the assets would pass directly to the intended beneficiaries.
- The Number of Beneficiaries
The more beneficiaries an estate has, the longer it will take to settle an estate. The beneficiaries’ place of residence can also impact the timeline of the probate process in Florida.
- The Presence of the Will
When a decedent dies without a Will, the absence of the document can further prolong the probate process. While the presence of the Will does not mean that probate is not necessary, having a Will can make the process of settling an estate more straightforward.
- Disagreements Between the Beneficiaries
It is not uncommon for beneficiaries to disagree on many aspects of the probate process. In fact, many beneficiaries hire their lawyers to keep an eye on how the personal representative manages the probate process. Disagreements between the beneficiaries can increase the length of probate as disputes may lead to probate litigation.
- Will Contest
Aside from disagreements between beneficiaries, it is also common for heirs to contest the decedent’s Will in order to invalidate the document. Typically, when anyone wants to contest a Will, the probate process will take longer because the probate court will have to determine whether there are grounds to invalidate the decedent’s Will.
- The Existence of Debt
Many people leave behind lots of debt when they pass away. The existence of debt can further delay the probate process because the personal representative has to resolve all creditor claims and repay debt before the estate is closed.
When an estate owes estate taxes, the personal representative cannot close the estate until they receive a closing letter from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
- The Decedent’s Assets
The length of the probate process also depends on the number of assets owned by the decedent as well as how complicated those assets are. For example, it is going to take much faster to probate an estate that only has a house and a bank account than a probate that has multiple real properties, automobiles, businesses, offshore accounts, and foreign assets.
Contact a St. Petersburg Probate Litigation Lawyer
You can benefit from consulting with a knowledgeable attorney whether you are:
- A beneficiary whose loved one passed away;
- A personal representative of a decedent’s estate; or
- A person looking to create an estate plan in order to avoid probate or make it as quick as possible.
Speak with our probate litigation attorneys at Legacy Protection Lawyers, LLP, to discuss your specific case. Call 727-471-5868.