To answer the question, “how long does an executor have to settle an estate in Florida?” an individual should be aware of a number of facets of the state’s probate process. An executor’s time to settle an estate varies considerably depending on assets, and there are multiple ways of achieving this process. To better understand the probate laws in Florida, let’s review the Florida executor requirements and essential deadlines a person should be familiar with when settling a loved one’s estate.
How to Become Executor of Estate in Florida
The legal requirements for becoming an executor in Florida are relatively straightforward. To meet the Florida executor requirements, an estate executor, known as a personal representative, must be at least 18 years of age, have no felony convictions, and be considered mentally and physically capable of carrying out their responsibilities. Other requirements maintain that individuals can only act as personal representatives if they’re related to the estate holder by either blood, marriage, or adoption.
To become an executor in Florida, you must file an Application for Administration for an intestate estate. Florida law also requires an applicant to seek a qualified attorney who can complete and submit the application. This application is then submitted to the Probate Division for the Circuit Court in the proper county.
Florida executor fees are based on the value of the estate. If the estate value is $1 million or less, your fee is 3% of the estate assets. If the estate value is between $1 million and $5 million, your fee is 2.5% of the estate assets. If the estate value is between $5 million and $10 million, your Florida executor fees are 2% of the estate assets.
Timeline of the Florida Probate Process
The Florida Probate Process timeline differs by the type of probate filed within the state. There are two main types in Florida: a formal probate administration and an informal (or summary) probate administration. There is also a disposition without administration, but these are available in very few circumstances.
- Formal Probate Administration – Under most circumstances, this administration usually takes 6 to 9 months from start to finish. The process includes appointing a personal representative, a 90-day creditor’s period, payment of creditor’s claims, sorting beneficiaries, finalizing documents, and more. A personal representative can manage and sell the estate assets in these cases. Once the 90-day creditor’s period ends, the estate can begin to be closed down as long as the personal representative follows the specific processes to close the estate.
- Summary Probate Administration – Summary administrations are usually reserved for small estates worth less than $75,000 and have no debt. This process can take less than a month to complete. All beneficiaries must consent to a summary petition, which generally takes about 2 to 3 weeks to get back from the court. This order of summary administration will give heirs and beneficiaries access to the assets subject to the court order.
To more easily break it down, here is a simple list of steps and events that one should undergo directly after the estate owner’s death:
- Initiate Probate by Depositing Original Will
- Appointment of Personal Representative with Letters of Administration
- Send Notice of Administration to Heirs and Beneficiaries
- Publish Notice to Creditors
- Provide Proof of Death
- Inventory Assets of the Estate
- Respond to Creditor Claims
- Address Surviving Spouse’s Election Rights
- Distribute Assets
- Close Estate
Walser & Herman Law
Due to the complexity of the Florida probate process and Florida executor requirements, it is highly advised to hire an estate attorney to guide you through every step of the process. Walser & Herman Law Firm has been guiding Florida residents through probate for over 30 years. We cover everything from estate planning, elder law, probate administration, and trust administration.
If you need an experienced and reputable elder law attorney, contact us today to learn more about our services or schedule a consultation.