Serving West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Port St. Lucie and South Florida 561-658-1789

What is the 10-Day Rule for Probate?

The death of a loved one can be a devastating time. Not only are you grieving the loss of your beloved family member, but you might be called upon to deal with their estate as well.

If you are the executor of the deceased’s estate, you have an important role to carry out. You need to act quickly, which can be hard, especially when the process is as complex as probate.

Probate is required whether or not there is a will. It refers to the court-supervised process of distributing your assets. Some states also have different types of probate, depending on the size of your estate. Each state has laws regarding the probate process, so it is a good idea to understand what needs to be done.

For example, in Florida, you need to follow the 10-day rule. This means that the deceased person’s will must be filed within 10 days of their death. What happens if there is no will? What if you don’t meet the deadline? Here’s what you need to know.

What Happens if I Do Not File the Will Within 10 Days?

The custodian of a will must file the will with the clerk of the court within 10 days after the person’s death. The custodian must also provide the decedent’s date of death or Social Security number to the clerk.

The failure to file a will within 10 days of death is a violation of Florida law. From a legal aspect, you could be sued by beneficiaries or those who can claim financial damages from the delay. An example would be if a beneficiary was waiting for their inheritance to pay off credit card debt. If they do not receive their inheritance in time, their debt may grow larger and then they may have to file for bankruptcy.

Many people do not file in a timely manner because there is technically no statute of limitations for a probate administration in Florida. However, the passage of time leads to issues, such as the possibility of multiple sub estates. Plus, it gets harder to stay in contact with heirs the longer you wait

Another potential issue is fraud. If you do nothing, it is possible for heirs to file and get a hold of assets that should have been yours or someone else’s.

What if There is No Will?

If there is no will, the 10-day deadline does not apply. That’s because there is nothing to file. However, the process then becomes a lot more complex.

Contact Our West Palm Beach Probate Attorney Today

Dealing with a loved one’s death can be difficult, but Florida requires you to move on quickly. Know the probate laws so you don’t get sued.

West Palm Beach probate attorney Brian K. McMahon, P.A. can assist you during this difficult time. Schedule a consultation with our office today by calling (561) 658-1789 or filling out the online form. We serve the West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Port St. Lucie, and South Florida areas.