This is more by design than accident. 1 reason why the probate process sometimes gets held up. But why? Learn How to Calculate the Value of Your Estate for Tax Purposes. Settling the estate could be delayed for a year or more. Estates With More Than a Few Beneficiaries, When Beneficiaries Live Some Distance Away, Estates That Have to File Estate Tax Returns, Find out How Long You Can Expect Probate Proceedings to Take, Settling a Revocable Living Trust After a Trustmaker Dies, How and When You'll Know If You've Been Named in a Will, Probate Judges—What They Are and What They Do, Trusts Are Subject to Different Income Tax Rates. Estates that own property that's difficult to value will take longer to probate. In Florida, the formal probate process, when not drawn out by disputed claims or other complications, generally takes at least four months. Even under ideal circumstances, probate is a lengthy process. Larger estates have more assets to distribute and more claims to satisfy, so distributing assets could drag on for years. For example, if they are now serving time in prison, or they have lost capacity to take on the responsibility, or they simply don’t want to do it, then the courts may turn to your alternate appointment in your Will. Posted January 14, 2019. Julie Ann Garber wrote about estate planning for The Balance, and has almost 25 years of experience as a lawyer and trust officer. Multiple probate processes can be necessary when a decedent leaves property in more than one state. E155 Why Does Probate Take So Long? It is even better if you can off-load some of that responsibility onto the attorney as well. Other things that may affect the time taken for probate are: whether the financial affairs of the person who died were in order and good records kept. Probate involves a significant amount of legal, tax and administrative work which can be very time consuming. Expect it to take at least a few months. But one day it will be too late. Many Beneficiaries. (In California) Posted on September 14, 2012. If you are worried about your loved ones dealing with probating your estate, then you are not alone. Otherwise, one or more creditors or beneficiaries of the estate might be forced to take over ownership of that undesirable asset. Estates that are required to file IRS Form 706, the federal estate tax return, will undoubtedly take longer to administer than estates that don't have to file such a return. Should an heir or beneficiary pop up brandishing another will with better terms, it might not be immediately clear which will should supersede the other. This is more by design than accident. A better understanding of what the probate process is intended to accomplish, and the steps necessary to accomplish those goals, should explain why the probate process takes so long. There’s a lot of rushing and working followed by periods of waiting. In addition to that, once the order has been approved, the Letters of Administration can take several weeks before they arrive at the attorney’s office. Probate is the legal process of ‘settling’ the estate of a deceased person, and it can take months, even years, for more complex estates. When someone dies, their estate needs to be settled. It can take a long time to extract the necessary information from some institutions. Paperwork. Assets may include real and personal property as well as tangible and intangible assets. Knowing when you need to be patient can help give you breathing room. Those attorneys will then proceed to question anything and everything, and that invariably brings the probate process to a grinding halt for a while. Examples include rare collectibles, racehorses, oil or mineral rights, or patents. Here are some of the most common reasons why probate takes so long: 1. Often, there will be some information gathering that will make the next step run smoothly. Add on to that budget cuts and hiring freezes within the court system itself. A closing letter must be received from the state taxing authority as well if state estate taxes are also due. The size of the estate, type of assets and other issues determine how long the process takes. Here are some of the reasons why the probate process can take so long. Lately, one of the biggest culprits is getting tax clearance. Yeager Law represents clients throughout California, especially in the Antelope Valley areas of Palmdale, Lancaster, and unincorporated areas of North Los Angeles County. There are many reasons why probating a will takes so long. Because it’s such a long process, a hold up at any point in the process can mean major delays. Notifications are typically followed by a minimum waiting period to allow for those notified to get counsel, file objections, or file claims. So Why Does Probate Take So Long? The Death Certificate An asset that's difficult to value can dovetail right into the other reason why probate takes so long—the estate has to file an estate tax return. The information on this website is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney-client relationship nor construed as legal advice. Why? How Long Does Probate Take? Probate can be avoided through various means, but many people don't realize it. What to Know About Dealing with Debts and Mortgages in Probate, Here's How to Settle a Revocable Trust After the Trustmaker Dies. Large estates may take up to a year or more to wind up. Complexity. Some estates are simply more complex than others. Another two or three months can go by if there's a problem with the return and the IRS requests additional information or documentation. Why Does Probate Take So Long? The short answer to why probate takes so long is, quite simply, because it's so complicated. The answer is, "It depends." Very little if anything can be done to speed things along in these situations. This might be due to the assets of the estate or the number of beneficiaries or the steps needed to settle the estate. When a person passes away they will often have certain money and/or debts. It may also take some time for you to interview Probate lawyers in order to find one that you are comfortable with. Why does probate take so long? And there will certainly be several tomorrows. Nothing can drag out the process like a good old-fashioned family feud. Why Does Probate Take so Long? But don’t make the mistake of locking yourself in. All this leads to delays of weeks and months before court hearings. After a person dies, probate may be needed to ensure that all debts are paid and … Some counties require the probate attorney to appear in person with the order, which means making an appointment and going down to the court house. Keep in mind though that this is just an estimate of the probate procedure and timeline. The typical probate can take up to 6 months to a year to complete, and it can end up costing a great deal in court and attorneys fees depending on the size and complexity of the estate. They fail to make estate plans so their assets end up at the mercy of the court. Failure to complete the right paperwork in the right way at the right time can result in being put back months while the correct paperwork is completed. Being able to identify and deal with complex issues during probate can make the difference between one delayed for a few months and one delayed for a year or more. When people ask me about probating the estate of a loved one in Ohio, one of the first questions they usually ask is "How long does probate take?" These procedures are normally limited to smaller estates. Finally, be proactive but flexible. 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