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How long may a PR take to close an estate?

Ocala, FL |

It has been 5 years with some litigation but now that is over. There was an extension requested from the PR 6 months ago with no reason given and that is almost over. I have heard nothing. Can a PR have private reason to get an extension, like illness, that does not have to be stated?
How many extensions is he allowed? I heard that to question the judge about closing the estate may put him in a bad mood. If there is a Florida rule on this can you direct me to it?

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Attorney answers 4


You should have an attorney request a hearing on why extension is necessary.
The court will consider extensions for valid reasons and those reasons are usually stated in the petition request.
My experience is that Judges like to close cases as soon as possible.

The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of action is to have legal representation in this matter.


Generally, an estate remains open as long as necessary and convenient to properly administer the assets in the estate.
Courts are pretty lenient and understanding when authorizing extensions to letters of authority, but the personal representative does have to give some reason. Personal reasons, such as health, may be allowed.
If the administration of the estate has been unduly prolonged without justification, the court is likely to be upset more with the personal representative than the beneficiary that alerts the court to this sorry state of affairs.
Best bet is to consult with local probate counsel who can give you sound advice on the reasonableness of the extensions.


A personal representative is under a fiduciary duty to the estate. Any requests for extensions must be documented, and are usually given is so documented and for cause. However, if you feel the Personal Representative has been dragging the matter out unnecessarily, and without cause, you can always file a motion with the court to compel the personal representative to account for his delays. I hope this helps. Best of luck.

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M Daniel Sasso

M Daniel Sasso


I agree with Mr Kinder that you should consult and perhaps request a hearing. However you fail to indicate what state the probate is in; for example I have one in NJ now that I am handling for a beneficiary and its been 3 1/2 years, and there was $3 Million involved with some left to charities. The law of NJ and perhaps your state may require a private investigation by the authorities, as well as the Department of Revenue, especially if the monies came from a prior estate of a sister or relative. In addition the beneficiaries may not permit an earlier un audited final accounting and therefore delay the closing due to additional accounting work. Accountants and some legal firm will force an additional year close simply because the IRS 1099 (earning/dividend) statements are not formally due until the following January. Hope this helps.


There is no legal maximum that an estate can stay open. The probate judge has very broad discretion whether or not to grant request for extensions. If you have not received your distribution, you can either petition to demand distribution or ask for a status conference. If distribution has already been made, there is not much you can do. As a general rule, probate courts allow almost unlimited extensions.

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