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Home > Blog > Probate > Timelines And Deadlines In A Probate Case, And Time Expectations

Timelines And Deadlines In A Probate Case, And Time Expectations


If you have a will that needs to be probated, you may be wondering how long the probate is going to take, and what the deadlines may be, for important events in the probate process. Of course, every case is different, and your estate and probate attorney can give you more specific ideas of timelines, but here are some general timeframes and deadlines in a typical probate case.

Basic Deadlines in Most Cases

Once the death is learned of, there are ten days to file the will and start the probate process. Note that when a loved one dies, you may have a lot more on your mind than a probate case. That’s why you may want to visit a probate attorney now, and have him or her ready, in the event someone does pass away.

Once the notice of administration is served on all parties, or otherwise published, there is only 90 days to challenge the will. This seems like a long time, but your attorney will likely need time to evaluate your case, and gather evidence, so it is best to visit a will contest attorney immediately, should you feel there is grounds to challenge.

Also bound by that three month deadline, are any claims made by creditors of the estate.

If there is a surviving spouse, and he or she will be electing to take his or her elective share, in the homestead exemption, this must be done within 6 months of the date of death. For the normal election of the elective share (non-homestead), this can be done within two years.

There is a strict statute of repose of 2 years for any creditor to bring any claim against the estate. For formal probate, a notice to creditors can be published which shortens the time for creditors to make claims to 90 days from the first date of publication.

How Long Will Your Probate Case Take?

Note that these are some general time deadlines—this is not a guide as to how long your probate or will contest case will actually take. How long your case will take, especially if there is a will challenge, will depend on a number of factors.

The time it takes will depend on how much is at stake (that is, the value of the assets that are being fought over), and how willing the parties may be to settle the case. Often, parties are willing to fight longer, and spend more on fighting, when there is more at stake.

The time it may take to resolve a challenge to a will, may not even be up to your attorney—your will contest attorney is subject to things like the court’s time availability to hear matters, witness’ availability to sit for depositions, and experts’ availability to review data and come to their conclusions.

The Law Offices of Larry E. Bray is ready to help if you have a probate matter, or a contested will or estate. Contact West Palm Beach probate lawyer Larry E. Bray today to schedule a consultation.

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