If you live in Florida and you have recently lost a loved one, you may be wondering what you can expect from the probate process.
Probate can be long and seem daunting. However, the more informed you are, the easier the process will be.
What is probate?
Probate, or estate administration, is the process through which a court validates a will and settles the estate after someone passes away. When there is no will, the court will determine how to divide the decedent’s property. During probate, the court appoints an executor, who then gathers and distributes the decedent’s assets to the beneficiaries.
What is an asset in probate?
Probate assets are those the decedent owned at the time of his or her death that do not already have a named beneficiary. These can include bank accounts, investment accounts and some life insurance policies. Real estate belonging solely to the decedent is also a probate asset.
How long does Florida probate take?
Florida probate could take anywhere from three months to two years to complete.
Summary administration is the fastest kind of probate, but it typically only applies to estates with a value of $75,000 or less and no creditor claims. This process can take as little as three months.
Formal administration is when the court or the deceased has named a personal representative that will distribute the assets to each beneficiary. This process is significantly longer, as it includes:
- Finding the will and gathering and verifying assets
- Filing paperwork with the court and appointing an executor
- Notifying descendants and beneficiaries
- Giving creditors the chance to make a claim
- Distributing assets and closing the estate
Overall, this process can take several months to years, depending on your circumstances. Understanding the timeline will allow you to plan accordingly.