We get asked this question all the time. The answer is complex. Every situation is different. Under Florida probate rules, the original will must be filed with the Court. It can take several weeks to obtain Letters of Administration appointing Personal Representatives. Then there is a 3 month creditors period. If the estate is valued at over the federal estate tax personal exclusion limits, or if the spouse is claiming portability for the deceased spousal unused exclusion amount (DSUE), probate is essentially put on hold while we wait for the IRS. Probate estates involving the IRS cannot be closed until the Personal Representatives receive an Estate Tax Closing letter from the IRS. This process can take years, depending on a variety of factors. Even if the estate is not valued over the federal estate tax exemption, the process can be lengthy. Some factors to consider include whether the will is contested, whether the Personal Representatives have access to the decedents information, and whether all of the decedent’s assets can be accounted for. This list is not all inclusive. Speak with your attorney if you have questions about the probate process.
-Emily A. Helmick, Esq.