How Long Can an Estate Stay in Probate?

How Long Can an Estate Stay in Probate?

If you ask how long an average probate process takes, the answer is “it all depends.” Every probate process differs state to state and by individual cases since the different provisions and procedures that might apply. Whereas there are ways to bypass probate, many states will make it a requirement it in specific situations. Keep reading to learn about the fundamental probate process and it’s timeline.

Comprehending Probate

Probate, that is a court supervised of categorizing and administering an individual’s estate, starts upon an individual’s passing. An individual may die by intestate or testate. If the individual dies testate, the property is going to be allocated to the beneficiaries designate in the deceased’s will. When the individual dies without a genuine will, the property will be allocated in accordance to state’s intestate laws of succession. In any case, the probate court will oversee supervising, allocation, and managing the deceased’s estate. The court will also oversee settling any legal challenges in regard to the estate or the legality of a will.

In a will, an individual typically names a particular individual as an executor, that will be responsible for administering the deceased’s affairs. If the deceased doesn’t name an executor or passes away intestate, the probate court will designate a personal representative to take on the executor obligations.

Probate Process Timeline

The probate process starts when the executor presents the will for probate in a probate court in which the deceased resided or owned property. The court will first gather all the deceased property. After that, the estate will settle any debts, claims, and taxes owed. Following the required paperwork being filed and approved, any leftover property will be allocated to the proper heirs.

The length of time for probate is subject to a multitude factors, like how big the estate is, the number of taxes and debts that need to be paid, tax matters, the amount of heirs, and any challenged matters of a will. A normal probate process takes up to twenty-four months from the date of the deceased’s passing. Nevertheless, in cases of challenged matters or lawsuits, the process could take up to several years, or possibly decades, to settle the matters and complete probate.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_column_text]One To Four Months[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]Prepare, then file “petition for probate” by:

  • Substantiate the authenticity of a will
  • Deciding on an estate administrator, executor, and/or representative
  • Establish all heirs and other family members

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_column_text]Three To Four Months[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]

  • Court hearing on request for probate

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_column_text]Three To Four Months[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]Issue the following documentation, when relevant:

  • Letters of administration and/or testamentary
  • Orders for probate, responsibilities, and obligations

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_column_text]Three To Five Months[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]

  • Issue probate bond (when ordered)

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_column_text]Three To Six Months[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]

  • Notice to any creditors

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_column_text]Six To Twelve Months[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]

  • Notice to the Department of Health Services (if the deceased got medical benefits)

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_column_text]Six To Twelve Months[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]

  • Estate itemizing and assessment to determine the estate’s worth

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_column_text]Six To Twelve Months[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]Pay bills and taxes:

  • Any relevant taxes, state and/or federal
  • Estate management costs
  • Family member allowances

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_column_text]Six To Twelve Months[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]

  • Accept or refuse creditors’ claims

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_column_text]Six To Twelve Months[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]

  • Franchise tax board notice (When the heir is an out of state resident)

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_column_text]Eight To Fifteen Months[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]

  • Tax clearance letters

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_column_text]Seven To Fifteen Months[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]

  • File request for final allocating and accounting

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_column_text]Eight To Sixteen Months[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]

  • Hearing on request for final allocating and accounting

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_column_text]Eight To Sixteen Months[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]

  • Order approving final allocation and accounting

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_column_text]Nine To Eighteen Months[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]

  • Allocation of assets to heirs

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_column_text]Nine To Eighteen Months[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]

  • Final discharge order

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_column_text]Nine To Twenty-Four Months[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]

  • Final allocation of estate funds, complete probate

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Probate Costs and Fees

The probate process comprises of certain fees and costs, like attorney’s fees, the administrator or personal representative fees, and court costs. These fees usually come out of the deceased’s estate, making the heirs receiving less share of the estate. Since probate can be costly and lengthy, people are inclined to look at other options to bypass probate altogether.

Get a Case Review By a Probate Attorney

Going through the probate needs you to not only understand the legal concepts and requirements that are involved, but also know the state-specific regulations and methods. If you’re engaged in the probate process, get a case review by a knowledgeable probate attorney, that can assist you through the process and answer your questions.

Source:

  1. Probate Process and Timeline. (2017, August 14). Retrieved January 19, 2021, from https://estate.findlaw.com/probate/probate-process-and-timeline.html

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