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How long does Florida probate take?

Clearwater, FL |

Via an attorney we filed probate on Mom's home with letter of admin being done 12/09. Notice to creditors has been out there for almost three months. We are closing on sale of house next week so money will be in attorney escrow until released. Could probate be as short as 4 months since no one has contested. Does process have to drag on beyond 4 months? 3/10/10 is the end of the claimant period. Does that mean the funds will be available from the house/estate at that time?

Attorney Answers 3


I would suggest consulting with local counsel, preferably a certified elder law attorney.

In NJ, there is no time limit on the probate of an estate. the creditor period in NJ is 9 months and the first accounting is not due until 1 year after an executor is appointed.

However, an executor does have a duty to wind up the estate in an expeditious manner and I would think it would be the same in all states, so if the executor were dragging things on when it was unnecessary to do so, you could file an action in court to move things along.

I don't think 4 months is that long at all though.

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Its possible to close on an estate in 4 months, it could also take longer. Be careful of how the home is sold and who is doing it. If done wrong, it could become subject to the claims of creditors. Was the home a constitutionally protected homestead? Is the home going to maintain the homestead protection, was the court asked to determine homestead?

There are many issues with a Probate in FL and if 4-5 months is reasonable would require more information than you have provided.

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Although it is possible to administer a probate in 4 months, that is a very aggressive time line. 6 months or longer would probably be more reasonable. Even though there may not appear to be any issues at this time, depending on the size and complexity of the estate issues can always arise. Additionally, closing of the estate needs to be signed by the probate court (judge). The judge can always ask for additional information or simply take time to sign the Order due to the amount of matters that cross his/her desk.

Douglas R. Coenson, Esq.
(561) 315-2120
Jupiter, FL

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