What can extend the probate process?
When a loved one passes away, the probate process can end up being immensely frustrating to their relatives. It’s hard to grieve properly when you’re caught up in what seems to be a terribly slow legal process.
There are some common reasons (outside of a contested will) why the probate process often tends to drag on. It’s important to familiarize yourself with these so that you’ll know what to expect.
What may adversely impact the length of the probate process?
Our court systems are notoriously overworked and understaffed. A judge can get to only a set number of cases in a given day, especially the more complex it is. How quickly a judge can hold the initial and follow-up hearings is largely contingent on how many cases they need to hear. It can take some time.
Assets in multiple states can also create problems. An executor may need to open a probate case in each state where a testator resided or owned property, thus delaying how quickly it takes to resolve it.
Assets of unclear or unusual value can also cause delays. Any instances in which an executor must hire an appraiser to assess the value of a testator’s assets or sell them off to distribute proceeds to beneficiaries may also tack on time to how long it takes to resolve an estate.
The more heirs or beneficiaries a testator has that an executor must find contact information for and communicate with, the longer the probate process will take to unfold.
Preparing a testator’s final tax return(s) and the time it takes for an executor to receive a confirmation of their receipt can also cause significant probate process delays.
Careful estate planning can minimize probate delays
Deliberate estate planning helps avoid the probate process or minimize the chances of there being delays that can negatively affect your loved ones. Make sure that your estate plans are designed to accomplish your goals.