When someone dies without a will in Florida, the law determines the person died intestate. Accordingly, the process of distribution of the decedent’s assets will happen as provided by the state intestacy laws.

In this article, you will discover how long probate takes without a will in Florida.

Understanding the Probate Process – Different Types of Probate 

In Florida, the process of probating the estate of someone who died with a will in place can take distinct amounts of time depending on each situation. There are two main types of probate – formal probate administration and summary probate administration.

Formal Probate Administration 

In most cases, a formal probate administration takes typically 6 to 9 months, which includes the period to appoint a personal representative, 90 days for creditors to lay down their claims, a subsequent period to pay the existing claims, etc.

Under this type of procedure, a personal representative (also known as “executor”) can manage the decedent’s estate. The probate court is responsible for appointing the personal representative for each case, following a petition by an attorney.

Accordingly, after the 90-day period for creditors is complete, the personal representative appointed for each case can start closing down the decedent’s estate, following a strict process of compliance. 

Summary Probate Administration 

Typically reserved for small estates (worth less than $75,000) that have no debt, summary probate administration can take less than a month under the ideal circumstances. 

In most cases, summary administration requires all the decedent’s beneficiaries to consent to the petition. 

Then, after obtaining the consent of all beneficiaries and submitting the petition to the court, the order of summary administration usually takes 2 to 3 weeks to get back from the court. 

Ultimately, the order of summary administration allows the decedent’s heirs to smoothly access the assets within his/her estate. 

What if There is Not a Will in Place? – Understanding Intestacy Laws 

Intestacy is the legal condition of the estate of any individual who dies without a will. Florida state law provides how to distribute the assets of someone who died without a will during the probate process. 

When there is no will to name an executor, Florida law provides a list of individuals who could fulfill the role. 

Usually, the first choice in cases involving intestacy tends to be the surviving spouse or registered domestic partner. If the decedent was not married, adult children are next on the list of potential executors, followed by other relatives.

It is crucial noting that the probate process will not distribute all types of assets within the decedent’s estate. Some types of assets do not need to go through probate, such as:

  • Life insurance proceeds
  • Real property owned under tenancy by the entirety
  • Real property owned under joint tenancy with rights of survivorship
  • Property held in a trust 
  • Payable-on-death (POD) accounts
  • Transfer-on-death (TOD) accounts
  • Any retirement plan(s) for which the decedent named a beneficiary

In such cases, the decedent’s family must locate the documents in which he/she established the co-ownership or beneficiary designation to discover who inherits these types of property.

On other hand, it is necessary to consult state law to find out who inherits any other type of asset that goes through probate. In this sense, the best approach is to work with an expert probate attorney to assist in the process.

How Long Does Probate Take Without a Will in Florida? – A Realistic Overview 

In cases involving intestacy, the duration of a probate process can vary substantially depending on several factors.

Usually, the complexity and value of the decedent’s estate, as well as the location of real property in the estate are crucial to determine how long the process will take. 

Assuming everything goes smoothly, the process of probating the assets of someone who died intestate takes 9 to 18 months. 

How Long Does Probate Take Without a Will in Florida? – Work with an Expert Attorney

If you have a loved one who died intestate, you need to rely on the guidance of an expert probate attorney to ensure the probate process goes smoothly. 

Nowadays, many lawyers in Florida denominate themselves as “probate attorneys”, but there is a difference between an expert and a non-specialized lawyer. When hiring the services of a legal counselor, you need to ensure the lawyer:

  • Has been involved in a probate case
  • Has experience resolving inheritance disputes through a probate process
  • Has experienced handling trials in court
  • Has experience with multi-day trials in probate court

Work with an Expert Probate Attorney from Jurado & Farshchian, P.L. Today

Undoubtedly, dealing with a process of probate when someone dies intestate requires a professional approach. Call Attorney Romy B. Jurado at (305) 921-0976 or send us an email at [email protected] to schedule a consultation.