Short Answer: A Summary Administration probate usually takes just over 3 months but can take 6 or more depending on the circumstances.
Long Answer: It depends on the facts and circumstances of each situation. In some areas of Florida the Judges require or allow for differing procedures this causes some probate administrations to take longer than others.
In Florida, the personal representative may need to sell real estate prior to settling the estate. As you can imagine the market conditions can determine how long it will take to sell property. I have been involved in some Jacksonville Probate Litigation where the creditors dispute every claim and as a result lawsuits are filed to resolve those claims. This procedure or settling a disputed claim in a Florida probate can extend the time to compete the probate.
Other Jacksonville cases have involved a disputed prenuptial agreement or Florida WIll. Again when there is extended litigation the process will take longer to resolve., or to resolve a disputed claim filed by a creditor, or a lawsuit filed to challenge the validity of the will.
Even the simplest of estates must be open for at least the three-month creditor claim period. If there are no assets that are subject to claims of creditors in some counties the Judges like to give notice to creditors and an opportunity to dispute homestead status to preserve the creditor’s due process rights. With these issues in mind, it is reasonable to expect that a simple estate will take at least three months and typically five or six months to properly handle.
If the estate does not have to file a federal estate tax return, the final accounting and other documents necessary to close the estate are first due within 12 months after the Court issues Letters of Administration to the personal representative. This period can be extended if necessary and is often extended in cases involving Florida personal Injury Claims.
If the estate is required to file a federal estate tax return, the return is initially due nine months after the date of the decedent’s death, however, the time for filing the return can be extended for another six months. Remember that the Personal Representative is personally responsible for the estate taxes if they are unpaid. If a federal estate tax return is required, the final accounting and other documents to close the probate administration are due within 12 months from the date the estate tax return, as extended, is due. This date can also be extended if necessary.
If you need help from a Florida probate lawyer or are looking to file a claim a Florida Probate case and would like a Jacksonville Probate Attorney to review your claim or the probate administration Contact a Florida Probate Lawyer.
Jacksonville Probate Lawyer, David Goldman has put together a Florida Probate Handbook that is being offered free to readers and visitors of his websites. If you would like a copy, visit the Free Florida Probate Handbook web page, fill out the form, and one will be sent to you within 24 hours by email.