How Long Does Probate Take? (Transcript)
D. "Rep" DeLoach III, Estate Planning and Board Certified Elder Law Attorney
Basically, there are two types of probate in the state of Florida. The first type of probate is known as a Summary Probate Administration. In a Summary Probate Administration, this takes place over about a period of a month. Under many circumstances, summary administrations are available only when someone has a very simple estate, when they have no debt, they have no creditors, when they have assets that are worth less than $75,000, and a few other basic rules. But the type of summary administration can be available when, again, someone has simple affairs, they don't have a lot of money, and they don't have a lot of debt, or they don't have any debt, then the summary administration can be done.
The second type of probate is known as a Dormal Probate Administration. In a Formal Probate Administration is when the affairs may be a little bit more complicated, when the assets are worth more than $75,000, when they are creditors, when there's unknown assets that are out there, then this type of probate administration needs to be done.
A Formal Probate Administration is done where the family hires an attorney, and the attorney petitions the court, and the court then appoints the executor. And in Florida we call the executor the personal representative. When the personal representative is appointed by the court, then that person is now able to act on the estate's behalf. And once the estate is opened up, then generally speaking, the executor manages all the affairs, gathers all the bills, make sure all the bills are paid, and they provide an inventory to the court as part of the process. And there's a lot of different things in this aspect of probate. Now, a formal administration takes generally six to nine months under most circumstances.
So again, to summarize, in Florida, there are two types of probates, the summary administration, which generally takes about a month under most circumstances, where a Formal Probate Administration probably takes six to nine months under most circumstances. Both of those cases, you would be advised to hire an attorney, definitely attorney as needed for a Formal Probate Administration. An attorney may not be needed for a summary administration.