Hyden, Miron & Foster, PLLC Law Blog

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Why Can Probate Take So Long?

Probate’s reputation can long proceed a person actually knowing about what goes on during the process. While you may not know the exact steps that occur during probate, the court supervised process of administering a person’s estate after he or she dies, you may have heard that it can be a costly, time consuming, and stressful process. This does not sound like something many people would want to go through, especially after the passing of a loved one, but it is often necessary. Many people choose to estate plan to help avoid probate in whole or, at least, in part, but probate is necessary in other cases and can take a lot of time.

While most probate proceedings can take anywhere from a few months to a year to wrap up, other times probate can take much longer. Why do some probate proceedings take longer than others? Well, we will discuss some of the reasons why probate can take so long here.

Why Can Probate Take So Long?

There are a lot of moving parts to probate. First, the will of the decedent must be authenticated and deemed legally valid by the probate court. If any heirs or potential heirs of the estate object to the validity of the will, the contest to the will must be heard and resolved by the court. Sometimes, an heir may challenge the contents of the will due to being dissatisfied by the portion of the estate he or she is set to receive, or not receive, under it. Difficult heirs can make probate proceedings take much longer than usual.

After the will has been found valid and a personal representative has been appointed, the personal representative is tasked with a number of important tasks, including gathering and managing the assets. An inventory of the assets must be created and the value of these assets must be established. With larger and more complex estates, this can take a significant amount of time. This can be especially true if there are assets that are more unusual and difficult to value. In some cases, an appraisal expert must be brought in to most effectively value an asset.

If there is property of the estate that is out of state, this can further delay probate proceedings. You see, property in different states will commonly need to go through ancillary probate. This means that there will be two probate proceedings regarding the same estate proceeding at the same time.

During probate, the personal representative must also place all potential creditors on notice of the proceedings. Creditors are given a set amount of time to make a claim to the estate. Once all claims have been deemed valid or invalid, all valid claims will be paid from estate proceeds.

The personal representative is also tasked with filing final taxes, keeping the probate court up to speed, and, eventually, distributing assets to the right beneficiaries. This multistep process can take a lot of time. It can take even more time if the personal representative does not take due care in executing his or her duties.

Estate Planning Attorneys

Do you need help with probate? Do you want to develop an estate plan designed to avoid probate? At Hyden, Miron & Foster, we can help you with this. Contact us today.

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