Probate has a reputation for taking a long time, meaning your heirs must wait to receive their inheritances. However, understanding the factors that can delay probate may help ensure the process goes smoothly.
Review these common aspects of probate that lead to time extensions and associated costs.
Issues involving beneficaries
Because Florida law may require notification of each estate beneficiary, it can take longer to settle your estate if you have more than three or four inheritors. Problems can arise if any of your heirs live out of state or are difficult to reach. Each of these individuals may have to submit signed paperwork to take ownership of estate assets.
When beneficiaries conflict with one another, it can also prolong the process of settling your estate. If anyone in your family contests the will, the parties must solve the issue in court before probate can move forward.
Out-of-state or nonliquid assets
If you own real estate, land, mineral rights or other types of property outside of Florida, it adds a layer of complexity to your estate. These assets may have to go through probate in the appropriate state.
If your estate is worth more than $11.7 million per individual or 23.4 million for a married couple, it will be subject to federal estate tax as of 2021. An estate of this size would likely also require Florida probate. However, Florida does not currently tax estates.
Careful estate planning can reduce some of these factors, saving your surviving family members time and money as they take on the probate process.