While the probate process in Florida often goes smoothly, certain situations can cause delays. Not having an estate plan or having an unclear estate plan can cause conflict between family members. Even if the person has prepared a will, it could be contested. In some cases, there might be more than one will, and then it is necessary to determine which one is valid.
Issues with beneficiaries
However, there are several other reasons probate could take longer. If there are more than a few beneficiaries or there are beneficiaries who live far away, there may be logistical delays in notifying everyone and getting them to return any necessary paperwork. If the person has property outside of Florida, this could also cause delays.
Issues with taxes and assets
The need to file the federal tax Form 706 will slow down probate because someone at the IRS must review the form. Having to pay estate tax can delay probate although the exemption is high enough that this affects few individuals. Some assets may be more complicated to deal with than others. For example, if there are collectibles, it might be necessary to determine their value. It may be necessary to liquidate some assets, but this could take time.
An executor can also slow down the probate process. This could be because the person is careless or not doing the job properly, but it can also simply be that the person is busy.
An executor is not required to do everything on their own and can hire an attorney to assist them in the process of estate administration and probate. Families who have lost a loved one who did not leave a will behind might also want to consult an attorney.