If you are the will executor or heir of a person who has died in Florida, one of the many questions you may have about the probate process is how long it will last. The short answer is that there is no single answer to that question. The length of time that is needed to complete probate varies based upon many things. That said, the minimum amount of time that probate can take is three months according to the Florida Bar. This time is required to give creditors the opportunity to file claims against the estate.

Circumstances such as the need to sell a home, a business or some other significant asset can add to the amount of time that it takes to complete probate. If the asset sells quickly, that can help to expedite probate but there is no way for the probate court to dictate the time required for such sales. If a will is contested or a creditor files a dispute, these issues will also have to be resolved before probate can be successfully completed.

The filing of a federal tax return is required for some estates. This must be done nine months after the date of death unless an extension is obtained. Once the return is filed, there is a 12-month period in which the remaining probate administration documents and accounting are due. If there is no requirement to file a tax return, then these documents are due within one year of the court’s issuance of letters to the personal representative.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but general information about the probate process in Florida.

Luis E. Barreto