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How Long Can an Estate Stay in Probate in Florida?

On Behalf of | Feb 28, 2020 | Firm News

Many people in the Florida Keys have questions about the probate process in their state. One common inquiry made by residents of Key Largo is how long an estate can stay in probate in Florida? There is no single answer to this question. However, some guidelines will hold in most cases. Here, we take a closer look at how the claims process works.

What Does Staying in Probate Mean?

The length of time an estate can stay in probate in any state depends on two things. First, does the court need to notify any creditors? Second, how long will the credit claims period last? The creditor claims period sets a floor on how long the estate takes to pass through probate. There is no ceiling set on the claims period, though. So, for example, in Mississippi, the law provides 90 days in which creditors can submit their claims. That means a probate court cannot close Mississippi estates until after three or four months. However, it also means that processing the estate could take a lot longer than that. In Alabama, the probate creditor claims period is six months. Again, this sets the minimum time period that the deceased’s estate has to stay open.

What Is the Probate Claims Period in Florida?

In all formal probate administrations in Florida, creditors must file claims within three months. This begins on the date when creditors first received notice. However, it cannot be less than 30 days after any creditors have received the actual notice. We can assume that it will take a number of weeks until there is a publishing of the notice. This sets a floor on the claims period. It will, therefore, not be possible to close an estate in Florida in under four months. In fact, in most cases, a time frame of six to eight months is more realistic.

What Are the Variables Affecting the Length of Probate?

Apart from these guidelines, it’s impossible to determine precisely how long an estate will stay in probate. This is because there are numerous variables involved. What if, for example, a person must sell a property during the proceedings? If a house stays on the market for 12 months or more, it’ll take much longer to wrap up probate proceedings.

There are other variables, too. The seller may need estate tax returns, and litigation is also a possibility. If these complicated factors are in place, the time taken for the estate to go through probate will be longer. So, what about in the case of a simple estate? If there aren’t any complex creditor or tax issues, the probate process will take around six to eight months.

Seeking Help with Your Probate Claim in Florida

If you’re filing a probate claim in Florida, contact TM Law today. We are expert probate attorneys serving the residents of Tavernier, Plantation Key, Islamorada, and Key Largo. We’ll ensure you make your claim on time and help you navigate the complexities you face in the process.