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Reasons Why Probate Proceedings Might Last Longer Than Expected


The length of probate usually depends on the different factors surrounding a particular probate proceeding. For example, the probate type you choose will determine the amount of time the process lasts. Therefore, when clients ask how long their probate proceedings will take, it is often challenging to provide a precise answer. Even though it is almost impossible to state precisely how long a specific probate proceeding will take, most summary probates last between one month to a few months and six to nine months for formal probates.

It is not uncommon for probate proceedings to last for many months or even years. When the probate process lasts longer than anticipated, each person involved in the process is bound to experience some frustration. Whether you are the personal representative/executor of the estate or a beneficiary, a delay in the probate process will most likely frustrate you. Tackling a decedent’s estate after their passing is already hard enough. A delay in the probate process only makes things worse.

The probate process can drag for several months or years because of various factors. Below are some of the factors that can make a probate proceeding last longer than expected.

Numerous Beneficiaries or Disagreements

An estate with multiple beneficiaries might take longer to settle because each beneficiary needs to be informed about the happenings. According to Florida Statute 733.212, the personal representative must serve a copy of the notice of administration to surviving spouses, individuals entitled to exempt property, trustees of any trusts, and all beneficiaries. Ensuring each beneficiary receives their notice in the case of numerous beneficiaries takes time. Also, following up on who has not returned their signed documents might take time.

Conflicts among beneficiaries can also cause proceedings to last longer than anticipated. Disputes among beneficiaries are always detrimental to the probate process. Beneficiaries can disagree because of various reasons. For example, they can disagree with each other when a will does not clearly outline who receives what.

Unusual/Uncommon Assets

Unusual assets like rare collectibles are not easy to value. For instance, it is much easier to value a business than it is to value rare collectibles. When dealing with an estate with uncommon assets, the probate process will most likely take longer than anticipated. The process will most likely take longer because it takes a substantial amount of time to determine such assets’ actual value.

Tax Returns

Unfortunately, those estates required to file IRS Form 706 go through the lengthiest proceedings. Filing a federal estate tax return can take months. In many cases, the IRS starts processing forms three months after they were filed. Until an estate required to file a federal tax return receives approval from the IRS after filing, it cannot close.

The Existence of More Than One Will

In situations where multiple wills exist, the probate process often takes longer because the court needs to thoroughly look at all the available wills and decide which is valid.

Allow Joyce A. Julian To Help You Today

To receive help with a probate proceeding, contact a Fort Lauderdale probate & guardianship lawyer at the office of Joyce A. Julian, P.A. at 954-467-6656 to schedule a consultation.






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