The length of the probate process in Florida generally depends on two things:
- The overall size and makeup of the estate in question, and
- How well the decedent prepared for the dispersal of the assets and property prior to their passing.
Estates that are not required to file a federal estate tax return and are not involved in litigation can usually be closed between six and nine months.
For estates that are required to file a federal estate tax return, the estate must remain open for two years.
However, certain distributions can be made to the heirs and beneficiaries soon after the estate is opened.
Even if an estate does not require a probate administration, all estates must be settled. Estate settlement is the process by which a decedent’s total estate, which includes both probate and non-probate assets, is settled. This includes filing documents, paying outstanding debts and taxes, and distributing assets.
Estate settlement involves the following steps:
- Collection of decedent’s assets,
- Payment of debts and claims against the estate,
- Payment of any estate taxes,
- Determination of heirs if the decedent died without a will,
- Filing certain documents required under state law, in some cases to clear title to real property owned by the deceased, and,
- Distribution of the remainder of the estate of those entitled to it.
The probate court must approve the personal representative and those who receive property from the estate. If the personal representative acts improperly, they may be held liable for any resulting damages and their appointment maybe terminated by the court.
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It’s always best to have an experienced probate and estate planning attorney assist you will the estate administration and settlement. We want to try to make the estate planning and probate process as simple and stress-free as we can. Call (561)998-2362 or click the button to schedule a free Financial Legacy Review online now.