While probate typically takes about six to nine months, the process can take longer for other estates due to certain circumstances causing delays. If you are an estate’s executor, administrator, heir or beneficiary, understanding the common reasons behind these delays can help you avoid them while setting your expectations.
Estates with a little more than the usual
A crucial step in the probate process is the appraisal and inventory of all assets. Accordingly, estates involving multiple properties take longer to process than smaller estates.
The same reasoning applies when there are multiple heirs, beneficiaries and creditors. An estate’s executor or administrator has to notify each person involved before starting process, which takes longer if there are many of them and if they reside in different states or countries.
Estate assets under special circumstances
If some of the decedent’s assets are located outside of their state of residency, different probate rules may apply. Depending on the applicable rules, the deceased’s personal representative will have to initiate multiple probate petitions, making the entire process longer.
Probate also lasts longer if unexpected assets not part of the initial inventory suddenly appear since recalculating the estate’s value and taxes is necessary to ensure accuracy.
Estates under dispute or contests
The duration of an estate’s administration usually extends when heirs and beneficiaries do not get along and raise disputes, such as contesting a will’s validity, during the process. The personal representative and the court cannot proceed with probate until they resolve the relevant issues.
Navigating probate with proper guidance
If you are an executor or administrator, reviewing the facts and circumstances surrounding the decedent’s estate can help you develop strategies to avoid or at least minimize delays. If you are an heir or beneficiary who wants to know how long the process will take, understanding relevant aspects, such as causes of delays, will set your expectations. In both cases, having an experienced probate advocate by your side can help you reach your goals.