Timeline for a Probate Case

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We all own things. But when we die, where does our property go? How will our final debts be paid? This is where probate comes in. After someone dies, their Will usually is submitted to a probate court.  Even if there was no Will, the probate court will likely appoint a Personal Representative. What follows is the administration or management of the deceased person’s probate estate assets. How long this process takes depends on a number of factors. However, we are going to look at what a timeline for a probate case might be.

Florida has two basic types of probate: summary administration and formal administration. Certain estates may pass through probate by another method – Disposition of Personal Property Without Administration. However, as this method is only used in certain limited circumstances, we will focus on summary administration and formal administration.

Timeline for a Summary Administration

This type of probate generally is less complicated than formal administration. Its use is restricted to estates that meet the following conditions:

  • The value of the estate does not exceed $75,000; OR
  • The decedent has been dead for at least 2 years.

Generally, a summary administration may be completed in several weeks.  Care must be taken to consider any possible creditor claims if the decedent has been dead for less than 2 years.

Timeline for a Formal Administration

There are many variables that determine how long it will take to finalize a formal administration. It may take a personal representative months or years to administer the estate.

After the court appoints a personal representative, he or she begins to do the following:

  • Gather and protect probate assets;
  • Publish a notice to creditors in at least one local newspaper;
  • Accept and review claims against the estate;
  • Pay valid claims;
  • Pay estate (and estate income) taxes, if necessary;
  • Distribute remaining probate assets to heirs; and
  • Close the estate administration.

The timeline for a probate case that is uncomplicated may be 6 to 8 months. The minimum time to start and end formal administration is three months. However, creditors must have at least 90 days to file their claims against the decedent’s estate.

The Timeline for a Probate Case Does Not Have to Be Burdensome

Estate planning strategies may be used to minimize or eliminate the need for probate.

At the Law Offices of John Mangan, P.A., we help clients develop plans that achieve their estate planning goals. Please contact us at 772-324-9050 to schedule an appointment or fill out our Contact Form. From our office in Palm City, Florida, we also serve clients in surrounding communities like Stuart, Hobe Sound, Port St. Lucie, and Jupiter.