How Long Does the Probate Process Take?
The probate system is the legal system that determines how a deceased person's estate is settled. In the case where there is a last will and testament. The probate process will validate that will and will work to settle any potential disputes about inheritance. If the deceased did not leave a will. Then the probate is there to ensure that there is an administrator appointed to take care of the estate. Probate will give the executor that was named in the will the authority to oversee the estate, so that they can distribute any assets, and pay any debts.
TimeProbates can be quite lengthy in some cases. Sometimes, probate takes a few months, but in the case of complex estates it could take years. Probate can take so long because of the processes that must be followed. For a will to be probated, then the document must be seen by the court, which will wan to schedule a hearing and appoint an executor or an administrator for the estate. The heirs and beneficiaries must be given notice of the hearing. Personal representative are be appointed. Their job is to give the creditors of the estate notice, and to perform an inventory of the estate's assets. These assets are 'probate property', and could include real estate and other fixed assets, personal property, business interests, and financial holdings. Investing in probate properties can give you high returns when choosing right properties.
Legal ProcessObjections will be handled, at the hearing. Personal representative can start the process of distributing property to any heirs according to the provisions in the will. If there was no will, then the executor will have to distribute assets in compliance with the intestacy laws. The estate will not be closed until all debts have been paid and the deceased's assets have all been distributed.
In the majority of cases, probate should take no more than a year. There are some circumstances which can make it take longer. If there is someone contesting the validity of the will then that will hold up the process. Sometimes, the process may be delayed if there were some business interests that needed distributing. Sometimes, the process will take a long time if there was a taxable estate needing to be managed. The IRS will want to be involved in this, and that will add extra steps to the process.
States follow different lawsSome states have special laws that govern how assets are distributed in smaller estates. Those laws will make the probate process a little simpler. In New York, for example, there is a Small Estates Affidavit which will allow the estate's assets to be distributed using a simple sworn statement executed by the people that are entitled to the property in question. There is no need to get the probate court involved assuming that the estate is simple.
There are ways to avoid the probate system. One option is to have property under joint ownership. If one person who holds a property dies, the other owner can take over it. Another option is a living trust, grantor will hold control of the trust until such a time as they die. At the point that happens, the trust will be passed over to a successor trustee, who will distribute any property in accordance with the wishes of the grantor. This can all take place without probate. From business point of view, you can buy probate property at amazing prices.If probate is necessary, however, then it could be a good idea to discuss it with an attorney. If you are involved in probate then you are not legally required to have a lawyer, but working with one will save you a lot of stress, and could clear up any ambiguities for you. They can smooth over the process and ensure that everything is distributed correctly.