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When your loved one has passed away, you may experience overwhelming emotions like grief, shock, anger and guilt. As such, you may want to take time to process their death on your own terms. However, if you are the executor of an estate, you’ll need to initiate the probate process. Though this may not seem pressing, you must file within a specific time frame. The following blog explores when you must file probate and how a probate lawyer in Pasco County, FL can assist you through this complex process.

How Soon After My Loved One’s Death Do I Have to File Probate?

When your loved one passes away, you must file probate with the court to authenticate the validity of a will and begin the distribution process for their estate. Unfortunately, you will only have ten days from the death of your loved one to file probate in Florida. It’s also important to note that you must initiate probate in the same county the deceased passed in.

If you do not file probate within the necessary time frame, it can cause significant trouble for the beneficiaries and estate. This is because the court cannot distribute the assets, meaning any beneficiaries would likely need to take legal action to receive their inheritance. Similarly, as probate is necessary to ensure all debts and taxes have been paid, beneficiaries could receive less than intended.

How Long Does Probate Last?

The length of probate in Florida will depend on the size of your estate. Generally, the larger and more complex the estate, the longer the probate will last.

If the estate is simple, generally worth $75,000 or less, with no debt, you may qualify for summary administration. This will take one to three months, as it is an expedited process. In the event the estate is larger, you’ll proceed with standard administration, which can take a year to a year and a half to complete. However, if the estate is complex or in litigation, it can take up to three years to finalize the process.

What Should I Do if I Need Assistance?

Unfortunately, probate can be incredibly complex and confusing to navigate. As such, it’s in your best interest to enlist the assistance of an experienced attorney to help you through this process. From filing the death certificate and inventorying the estate to notifying creditors and paying owed debts, there are many steps that must be followed. However, an experienced attorney can help ensure this process goes as smoothly as possible.

At the Law Offices of Matthew J. Jowanna, we understand how overwhelming this time can be for those dealing with the loss of a loved one. As such, it’s essential to ensure you contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible to help you through the probate process. Our dedicated and compassionate team will do everything possible to help you during these challenging times. Contact us today to learn more.