When one is grieving the loss of a loved one, navigating the probate process can be difficult to do, especially within the court’s strict time limits. One way that those in this position can ensure the process is carried out properly is to enlist a Florida probate attorney who can ensure all paperwork is done correctly and submitted on time.
Key Florida Probate Deadlines to Know
Much like most legal matters, the state of Florida has put forth deadlines to ensure probate cases are handled in a timely manner. If the surviving family members do not adhere to these deadlines, the deceased’s assets may not be distributed as he or she intended — or worse, they could be sold without beneficiaries seeing a penny of the proceeds.
Here are the most important deadlines for executors, beneficiaries, and other potential heirs to know:
- Statute of Limitations | The primary governing deadline for probate cases is the statute of limitations for trust administration, which is two years unless a probate estate is opened by a personal representative. This statute also limits the claims against estates to two years.
- Filing the Will | Under F.S. 732.901, the will must be submitted to the court within 10 days of the personal representative learning of the deceased’s death.
- Challenging the Will | Beneficiaries have 90 days to challenge a will’s validity or the appointment of a personal executive, starting from the time the Notice of Administration is received. One exception is if a formal notice is submitted, in which case the beneficiary has just 20 days.
- Notifying Creditors | The personal representative must “promptly” serve any known creditors of the deceased a notice of the borrower’s death. This can be determined by checking mail or bank statements.
- Filing Creditor Claims | Upon receiving the notice, creditors have 90 days to file a claim with the estate.
- Claim Objections | Objections must be made either four months from the publication of the notice to creditors, or 30 days following the filing of the claim — whichever occurs later.
- Claiming Elective Share | Surviving spouses in Florida have six months after receiving the notice of administration to request the 30 percent of the deceased’s estate they are entitled to.
- Claiming Profits for Unclaimed Property | If a beneficiary does not claim property, either because they cannot be located or does not want the property, it will be sold. That beneficiary has 30 days to claim those profits if they do not exceed $500, and two months if it totals more than $500.
Have questions about settling a loved one’s estate?
A Florida probate attorney at Graham Legal can guide you through it. Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation, where we can make an informed recommendation regarding your unique case.