How Long Does Probate Take in Florida? 

Two-thirds of Americans do not have a Last Will and Testament. When they pass on, they are legally said to die “intestate”. Dying intestate may complicate the probate process, which can already take up to a few months for a Summary Administration (the shortened form of probate in Florida) or over six months for a Formal Probate Administration. If you are waiting for an estate to go through probate, the timeline can vary based the type of probate as well as the circumstances of the case.

Having a Last Will and Testament does not avoid probate all together – it is the way in which assets are titled that determines whether they need to go through the probate process to be distributed to the beneficiaries of an estate. For example, assets held by two or more people as “joint tenants with rights of survivorship” typically avoid probate because they are titled in such a matter so that the surviving individuals receive the deceased person’s share of the asset without the need for probate.

What Is Probate? 

After someone dies, their estate may have to undergo the probate process. This is a court process where the Will is reviewed and approved by the probate judge, and an executor (i.e., personal representative) is appointed. Then, the executor can administer the estate’s assets and distribute them to the beneficiaries. 

An executor is normally named in the Will. If there isn’t a Will, then an executor is appointed by the probate court based on the intestacy order of preference set forth in the Florida statutes. This individual manages the deceased’s assets and pays off the estate’s liabilities. They are also in charge of distributing the assets to beneficiaries. 

To make sure everything is distributed according to the deceased’s Will, a probate court will review the estate’s assets and the facts of the probate case. Then, they will rule about how the assets should be divided and distributed. If there isn’t a Will, it can complicate the probate process.    

The Summary Probate Administration process is often shorter than a Formal Administration because an executor is not appointed. A probate estate may qualify for Summary Administration if:

1) The deceased passed away two or more years prior to start of probate proceedings;


2) The value of the deceased’s entire estate subject to probate administration is $75,000 or less. Homestead property (i.e., your primary residence) is considered exempt so it can be of any value and so long as the rest of the deceased’s assets that have to go through probate do not exceed $75,000, the estate can qualify for Summary Administration.

How Long Does Probate Take in Florida? 

In Florida, the probate process is covered by Chapters 731 through 735 of the Florida Statutes and the Florida Probate Rules. The exact timeline depends on the type of probate. In Florida, the probate process is typically handled through a Formal Probate Administration or a Summary Probate Administration. Typically, you can expect the probate process to take the following amount of time:

  • Summary Administration: Up to 3 months (possibly more if there are creditor claims that have to be resolved or a large number of heirs)
  • Standard Formal Administrations: Up to 12 months 
  • Complex or Litigated Estates (or estates where the deceased is a foreign national): More than 1.5 years 

Formal Probate Administration

Normally, formal probate administration will take up to twelve months to complete. This process begins when an executor is appointed. Then, there is typically a 90-day period for creditors to come forward to get paid. 

Once an executor is appointed by the probate court, they can sell and manage the estate’s assets. Real estate may be sold prior to the probate estate being closed out, either via court approval or a “power of sale” clause in the deceased’s Will. After the creditor period is complete, the executor can officially start the process to close out the estate and distribute the estate’s assets to the heirs.  

Summary Probate Administration 

Summary Administration is intended for smaller and more straightforward estates. To qualify, the estate assets must be $75,000 or less, or the deceased must have passed over two years prior to the start of probate proceedings. Under the right circumstances, Summary Probate Administration can take as little as a month to complete. Often times, it takes a little longer, but in the majority of cases, it does not take longer than 4 months to complete (especially if there are no creditor issues to resolve). 

After the Petition for Summary Administration is submitted to the probate court, other documents and affidavits must be filed with the court. Once all the required pleadings are submitted and reviewed by the probate court, the judge will enter an Order of Summary Administration. This Order is used to distribute the assets of the estate to the deceased’s beneficiaries.   

What Happens If There Is No Will? 

If someone dies without a Will, their estate is treated differently. Florida courts will give your spouse 100% of the estate’s assets (or 50% if you or your spouse had children from a prior relationship). If you or your spouse did not have children from another relationship, then your spouse receives 100% of the assets. If you or your spouse have children from another relationship, your spouse gets 50% of the assets and your children receive equal parts of the remaining 50%. 

With non-married individuals, the estate goes to your children. If one child has passed, then their share is given to their children. When there are no children, the estate is given to your parents. If you don’t have surviving parents, your siblings or their children receive the estate.

Florida will continue working through your descendants if you don’t have siblings or children. In order, the estate will pass to your grandparents, aunts and uncles, and then to nieces and nephews. If you don’t have any family at all, the estate will go to your last deceased spouse’s family. When you have absolutely no heirs to receive your assets, the assets may end up in the hands of the State of Florida.   

The Probate Process 

After filing for probate, the estate will go through several different steps. These steps can take different amounts of time based on the circumstances of the case. For a Summary Administration, the process is quicker because an executor is not appointed and the Notice to Creditor period often does not need to be undertaken.

For a Formal Administration, the following steps are often involved:

  • Filing the Original Will: This is the first step of any probate case (Summary or Formal). The original Last Will and Testament should be filed with the probate clerk within 10 days from the date of the deceased’s death.
  • Determining the Validity of the Will: The amount of time it takes to complete this step can vary. During this step, the probate court must determine the Will’s validity.  
  • Providing Letters of Administration: Letters of administration are provided by the probate court to the estate’s executor. This formally recognizes the personal representative as the estate’s executor. Normally, this step takes up to four weeks after the probate petition is filed.  
  • Notifying Creditors: During this stage, the executor publishes a notice that notifies possible creditors of the estate. Typically, notices are published within about two weeks of the executor being appointed. Afterward, creditors have just 90 days to file their claims. 
  • Getting a Verified Statement: A verified statement must be submitted to the court. This statement states that all creditors have been diligently searched for. 
  • Checking for Objections: The executor must release an accounting notice for the estate’s assets and how they will be distributed. Then, interested parties have 30 days to challenge the accounting notice. If someone contests the accounting, this can significantly lengthen the probate process.
  • Turning in the Receipts: After the executor has finished distributing the estate’s assets, the executor must give the distribution receipts to the court.  
  • Closing the Estate: Once all the required steps are taken in the probate case, the executor requests an Order of Discharge from the probate judge. Once the closure is granted, the probate process is complete. 

How Farshchian Law Can Help

No matter the type of probate proceeding, Farshchian Law’s probate and real estate attorneys have the dedication and expertise to see the probate process through to the end. If you need help navigating the probate process in Florida, reach out to us today.

For a free consultation and to learn more about our Florida probate and real estate services, call us at (800) 604-1871, or email us via our secure online contact form. We provide real estate, probate, and title/closing services throughout the State of Florida.