Probate is a necessary process after a Florida resident passes away to make sure their assets are properly accounted for and that their wishes are carried out to the best of the state’s ability. While the goal is to make it as easy as possible, things in the estate plan can make it difficult to avoid probate delays.
What can lead to probate delays?
Estate plans that name assets in different states or are otherwise unusual can lead to delays. Probate court assigns a monetary value to each asset, but that can be hard to do with unusual items.
Taxes that are owed on the estate can also lead to long delays. Most of the time, though, the delays are caused by the estate plan itself or the remaining family members.
Beneficiaries leading to delays
If an estate plan lists assets that don’t exist, beneficiaries who are no longer alive or a part of the family, or other issues that are complicated to figure out, then the process will be held up in probate court. For example, the challenges that can emerge from an estate plan that lists an ex-spouse of 20 years as beneficiary will contribute to delays.
Individuals are supposed to sign several documents in the estate planning process, but sometimes, those signatures are missing. The probate process can be delayed due to lack of communication with the beneficiaries due to them living far away or just plain refusing to be part of the process due to family drama.
What to do if probate becomes delayed
If you’re stuck in the middle of estate administration and you’re not sure how to proceed, it’s important to document everything and help keep the process moving. The worst thing you can do is hold off on supplying information or reaching out to family.