If it becomes necessary for an estate to go through court-supervised probate, it normally takes much less than a year to complete the process. However, some factors can significantly increase the time needed. Three questions immediately come to mind regarding probate: What is? Why is it required? What factors can delay the process?
What is probate?
Probate is the process of the court supervising the authentication of the last will and testament of a person who has passed away. It is a multi-faceted process that can include: determining the value of the assets contained in the estate, dividing and distributing the estate among the inheritors, and settling the estates’ remaining taxes and outstanding bills.
Why is probate sometimes required?
Probate is not always required when the will is clear and concise. However, there are some common reasons why probate may be required by the court:
- A will doesn’t exist or can’t be located
- There are no inheritors or beneficiaries of the estate
- There are conflicts or disputes over the will
Because the circumstances of each estate is unique, various factors can cause an estate to be required to undergo the probate process. However, the three reasons above often result in court-supervised probate.
What factors can delay the process?
Probate can be a long arduous process if any of the following factors are present:
- Multiple wills are present or a fraudulent will is suspected
- Estate has assets in multiple states
- More than one inheritor, or beneficiaries live large distances apart
- Beneficiaries have conflict over the execution or contents of the will
- Unpaid back taxes, tax issues or estate tax return is required
If one finds themselves in probate, one of the first questions that comes to mind is, “How long is this going to take?” Hopefully, the factors briefly touched upon in this article can give those facing probate a clearer picture of what to expect. Sound legal counsel can help navigate the probate process through experience and expertise.