When a loved one dies, the surviving family members may find themselves consumed with grief. While understandable, grieving family members cannot allow despair to keep them from focusing on estate-related responsibilities. If the deceased left a will, executing the will must become a priority. A question arises here: how soon after the passing do family and heirs have to probate a will in Florida?

Upon the testator’s passing, the probate court can accept the will. There is no waiting period required. Filing the probate court without delays might be advisable. Why move so swiftly? The beneficiaries must realize probate could take much longer than expected. Perhaps the testator left another deceased person’s name on a property deed. Procuring a copy of the other person’s death certificate could take weeks, creating a delay.

Yes, in some cases, unexpected issues could drag probate out for many months. Delays on opening the estate and executing the will end up pushing the completion date further away.

Also, executing the will involves legally awarding someone executor of the estate duties. The testator usually names the executor in the will’s text. Once the executor gets sworn in, he/she can act on behalf of the deceased in specific matters. Although the person passes away, the individual’s estate remains responsible for debts. So, the executor becomes the person using the assets from the estate to pay debts. The executor may also file tax returns, purchase estate policies for properties, and handle various other duties. Delays on filing the will also delay an executor from performing many complicated tasks.

What if the person who possesses the will refuses to file the document? The executor or beneficiary could go to court to force him/her to do so. The person’s attempts to avoid probating the will may prove futile.

At the probate’s conclusion, the executor distributes the assets after addressing debt and other obligations. Again, any delays on filing the will would delay such distribution.

Effective estate planning steps may involve choosing the most qualified person as the executor of the estate. An experienced attorney may assist clients with the entire estate planning process.