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How Long Does Probate Take in Florida?

So how long does it take to probate a will in Florida?  This is not an easy question to answer precisely, but it’s possible to give a few guidelines that hold true in most cases.

The length of probate in any state depends on whether creditors must be notified and the length of the creditor claims period.  These creditor claims period set a floor (but not a ceiling) on how much time it will take to probate the estate.

For example, Mississippi probate law provides for a 90-day period during which creditors can submit claims.  This means that it is impossible to close a Mississippi estate is less than 3 or 4 months, but the estate proceeding could take much longer.  The creditor claims period in Alabama probate is 6 months. This again sets a minimum amount of time that the estate must remain open.

In Florida formal probate administrations, all claims must be filed within 3 months of the date that notice to creditors is first published (but not less than 30 days after any known creditors have been provided with actual notice).  Assuming that it takes several weeks to get to the point where notice is first published, this means that it is impossible to close the estate in less than 4 months.   A 6 to 8 month timeframe would be more reasonable for most estates.

Beyond these general guidelines, though, this is one question I can’t answer with much precision.  There are too many variables involved.  For example, what if real estate needs to be sold during the probate proceeding?  A house that sits on the market for a year or more will obviously lengthen the time it takes to wrap up the probate proceeding.

We could talk about other variables, like whether estate tax returns are needed or litigation is involved. These complicating factors lengthen the time it takes to probate the estate. But if we stick to the simple estates, where there are no complicated tax or creditor issues and everyone gets along, you can expect the probate process to take between 6 and 8 months.