Here are some of the most common reasons why probate takes so long: 1. Here are some of the most common reasons why probate takes so long: 1. It's not unheard of for a decedent to leave a last will and testament without stating explicitly in the document that it replaces and revokes any will made prior to that time. 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. Why? 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. Probate is a very paperwork intensive process. 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. Very little if anything can be done to speed things along in these situations. Why? This can also delay the probate process. Estates that own property that's difficult to value will take longer to probate. The short answer to why probate takes so long is, quite simply, because it's so complicated. Estates with numerous or complicated assets simply take longer to probate in Maryland … And there will certainly be several tomorrows. Mandatory Waiting Periods. Those attorneys will then proceed to question anything and everything, and that invariably brings the probate process to a grinding halt for a while. When someone dies, their estate needs to be settled. Legal challenges can lengthen this process. The law firm is asked by many of its clients about why the probate process takes so long. All rights reserved. Managing probate-required paperwork can be a monumental undertaking with structured timelines and court-imposed deadlines. Julie Ann Garber wrote about estate planning for The Balance, and has almost 25 years of experience as a lawyer and trust officer. But why? Large estates may take up to a year or more to wind up. A Time-Consuming Process. In most cases, the deceased leaves his or her estate to more than one person. 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. It is no secret that our courts are overloaded. Estates with more than two or three beneficiaries typically take longer to settle through probate because it takes longer to notify each and every beneficiary about what's going on. And letting them know what's going on is a legal requirement during administration. Many Beneficiaries. In California probate proceedings are governed by the Probate Code which sets forth certain time limits. Complexity. 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. When a person passes away they will often have certain money and/or debts. If it does happen, email the Registry as soon as possible – but they may not be able to help, so manage buyers expectations in advance. Yeager Law represents clients throughout California, especially in the Antelope Valley areas of Palmdale, Lancaster, and unincorporated areas of North Los Angeles County. Probate is a very paperwork intensive process. This means that the probate administration will remain in limbo for at least six to eight months while the IRS does what it needs to do. In most states, a regular probate administration can take months or years. How to Protect Your Estate So It Goes to Your Family—Not to Taxes. The reason the process takes so long is that there are complex legal and tax issues that need to be resolved. Probate can take as little as 30 days to several years. Discover what is the next big hurdle and what you need to do to prepare for it. Nothing can drag out the process like a good old-fashioned family feud. If you find yourself involved in a probate, as an executor, heir, or otherwise, there’s a few things you should do. The most important reason why probate avoidance is such a hot topic is because the process itself can be very time-consuming and expensive. The estate's executor or administrator and the IRS have been known to have widely divergent opinions of the true value of unique assets for estate tax purposes. The longest of these waiting periods is four months to allow creditors to discover the estate and file any claim before permanently losing their ability to collect on debts owed by the deceased. It is even better if you can off-load some of that responsibility onto the attorney as well. These contests can add years to any probate as the court considers the claims of each party. Learn How to Calculate the Value of Your Estate for Tax Purposes. It may also take some time for you to interview Probate lawyers in order to find one that you are comfortable with. All this leads to delays of weeks and months before court hearings. 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. The answer to “ how long does probate take ” is pretty variable! But don’t make the mistake of locking yourself in. There are many reasons why probating a will takes so long. In general, estates with many beneficiaries take longer to probate than estates with just a few beneficiaries. But why? Frustratingly, probate can drag on for months – or even years. A multitude of factors can contribute to a long and drawn-out process, from choosing an inept executor to the nature of a decedent's assets. The probate process can get quite complex as it consists of several steps, the basic ones being: petitioning the court, approving the executor, notifying all parties, transferring of assets and paying off debts, and closing the estate. To make matters worse, probate can take on a life of its own, dragging on for many months or even several years for some estates. Mention estate planning to anyone and most likely they will associate it with avoiding probate. An asset that is highly illiquid can cause the estate to remain open until the asset can be sold. The Death Certificate Be flexible enough to change your plans and approach as necessary. It involves a lot of research, a lot of back and forth with financial organisations, and some fairly unfriendly probate and tax forms. Each item has its own guidelines, requirements, and timelines. It is not uncommon for those who feel they have been shorted by the deceased’s Will to contest the Will’s legitimacy in court. Sometimes the person that you have appointed is no longer the best choice. This is more by design than accident. In general, estates with many beneficiaries take longer to probate than estates with just a few beneficiaries. Jun 20, 2016. Also, how the probate process happens makes a huge difference in how much inheritance the beneficiaries receive. Knowing when you need to be patient can help give you breathing room. There’s a lot of rushing and working followed by periods of waiting. After a person dies, probate may be needed to ensure that all debts are paid and … Above we have discussed that it might take time to gather all the necessary information as well as documentation. Which of Your Assets Are Subject to Probate? In some instances, the list of beneficiaries can be quite long. The size of the estate, type of assets and other issues determine how long the process takes. An estate that must file Form 706 can't close until it receives an official, written nod of approval from the Internal Revenue Service. For this to be done, the process has to be thorough and proper checks must be made. Fill out the form below and we will get in touch with you shortly. Frustratingly, probate can drag on for months - or even years. The probate process begins after someone dies. 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. Examples include rare collectibles, racehorses, oil or mineral rights, or patents. It can take a long time to extract the necessary information from some institutions. Probate can be avoided through various means, but many people don't realize it. To understand why the probate process can take so long to complete, one should understand the fundamentals of the probate timeline. So plan to avoid probate today so your loved ones don’t have to deal with it tomorrow. Now we're up to 10 months to a year since the return was initially filed. Because it’s such a long process, a hold up at any point in the process can mean major delays. It can then take another three to four months for an actual person to look at the return. Juggling additional proceedings generally takes a good bit more time. Complexity. For example, a decedent might have lived in Nevada but also owned real estate in California and mineral rights in Oklahoma. In Colorado, the average estate spends 9-24 months in probate. Probate is the legal process of ‘settling’ the estate of a deceased person, and it can take months, even years, for more complex estates. Why does probate take so long? Paperwork. Then why does this take a long time? WHY DOES PROBATE APPEAR TO TAKE SO LONG? The process takes upwards of a year or longer. This type of person generally won't be able to handle all the responsibilities and duties that go along with guiding an estate through the probate process and settling it. The person who died (the decedent) may have died testate (with a will) or intestate (without a will).Despite the existence of a will or not, the decedent’s assets, including his or her personal property and real property, must be transferred to someone else. Here are some of the most common reasons why probate takes so long: 1. Finally, be proactive but flexible. Otherwise, one or more creditors or beneficiaries of the estate might be forced to take over ownership of that undesirable asset. The savings in time and money from using someone who can get you through the process as quickly as possible can be well worth it. Some estates are simply more complex than others. Why Does Probate Take so Long? How long does probate take? Larger estates have more assets to distribute and more claims to satisfy, so distributing assets could drag on for years. 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. Probate, which is the legal process for distributing the deceased’s property after his or her death, has a reputation in Massachusetts for its long duration. Estates that own property that's difficult to value will take longer to probate. Probate involves a significant amount of legal, tax and administrative work which can be very time consuming. Probate in Massachusetts: Why Does It Take So Long in Some Cases? It includes filings, petitions, notifications, accountings, and other items. In Oregon, the average probate case takes anywhere from ten months to a year and commonly even longer. 1 reason why the probate process sometimes gets held up. The personal representative can be forced to go to court to get permission from the probate judge to perform every little task when beneficiaries don't get along. Why Does Probate Take So Long? Posted January 14, 2019. The time differences and expensive overnight mail service will definitely take a toll on the estate administration if a beneficiary is located outside of the U.S. Another two or three months can go by if there's a problem with the return and the IRS requests additional information or documentation. We’ll discuss: (1) Why tax clearance is so important (2) Estate tax on the 1% (3) The IRS and the Deceased’s 1040 (4) See you next April (4) Don’t Forget form 5495! Why does probate take so long? How Much Can You Claim for Funeral Expense Deductions? Estates with numerous or complicated accounts or property simply take longer to probate, as there are more items to be accounted for and valued. What the person who died owned and where it is. Here’s a look at why the probate process can take a long time and how you can shorten the amount of time required. The process takes upwards of a year or longer. What to Know About Dealing with Debts and Mortgages in Probate, Here's How to Settle a Revocable Trust After the Trustmaker Dies. 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. In some cases, discovery and full trials may be necessary to determine the circumstances surrounding the creation of the Will. This can require that ancillary probates be opened in California and Oklahoma, in addition to the primary proceeding in Nevada. 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?" Paperwork. But one day it will be too late. We all think and believe that we can take care of this tomorrow. (In California) Posted on September 14, 2012. Beneficiaries living at a distance are said to be the No. The trick is to take steps to avoid probate now, while you are still alive and in good health. A closing letter must be received from the state taxing authority as well if state estate taxes are also due. The personal representative will need to gather the assets and determine the debts that need to be paid. HWhen it comes to Probate there are a lot of variables why it might take as long as it does. When you find yourself in a waiting period, it is sometimes a good idea to look ahead. 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. [contact-form-7 id=”1312″ title=”Website PopUp Form”]. In Estate Planning, Probate 0. Generally speaking, the more beneficiaries you have, the longer probate tends to take. We sometimes are told a story about a friend of a friend who has managed to get probate within two weeks of death and distributed the estate two weeks thereafter. 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 a legal process. Expect it to take at least a few months. Why Does Probate Take So Long? Complexity of the Estate. We do hear this quite often and we then explain why probate can be a lengthy process, when carried out diligently. Unfortunately, many of these reasons are beyond the control of the executor and the probate attorney, if the estate has one. This attorney can create a probate avoidance strategy that can be put into place by either your attorney or yourself. First, get the advice of legal counsel knowledgeable about probate. Keep in mind though that this is just an estimate of the probate procedure and timeline. Assets may include real and personal property as well as tangible and intangible assets. Why Does Probate Take So Long? Ebony Howard is a certified public accountant and credentialed tax expert. Some issues can be spotted early on to minimize the impact while others have to be dealt with as they arise. Frustratingly, probate can drag on for months - or even years. Many Beneficiaries. Settling the estate could be delayed for a year or more. (Most states have a streamlined process known as summary administration, or small estate administration. Here are five of the most common: Paperwork. When Are IRAs or 401(k)s Available to Creditors After Death? These procedures are normally limited to smaller estates. The answer is, "It depends." Once a petition for probate is filed, you will receive a date for the first hearing in which an administrator or executor is appointed. Managing probate required paperwork can be a monumental undertaking with structured timelines and court-imposed deadlines. | Anthony S. Park PLLC Speaking with an estate planning attorney to learn about what you can do is an important first step. Choosing the wrong someone to act as executor can cause the process to drag on and on. E155 Why Does Probate Take So Long? Why Is Probate Necessary? Complexity. When someone dies, their estate needs to be settled. There are many reasons and the answer is sometimes difficult to give. Multiple beneficiaries who are spread all across the U.S. will be more difficult to deal with, even with modern technology. Probate is not a fast process. It doesn’t matter how simple and straightforward the probate really is, patience can really be a virtue here. The information on this website is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney-client relationship nor construed as legal advice. This might be due to the assets of the estate or the number of beneficiaries or the steps needed to settle the estate. One of the things that we do here at Lantz Law is to help clients to avoid assets having to go through the probate process. 0. Why Does Probate Take So Long? 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. There are many reasons for probate delays, other than staffing problems: Has the application actually been sent off? For this reason, many Executors choose to instruct a … Will Contests. You may be wondering why it would take so long to finish up a person’s financial affairs when they die. It always takes longer to communicate and coordinate with more people, and in the event that signatures are required or other actions are needed on the part of the beneficiaries, who are likely scattered around the country or across the globe, waiting for all the necessary information can significa… One or more of the beneficiaries will often hire their own attorneys in these situations. Multiple probate processes can be necessary when a decedent leaves property in more than one state. Paperwork. Procrastination is the biggest enemy here. When you die, you will leave behind assets. - Lake Zurich, IL - Probate is a time-consuming legal process. By Bach, Jacobs & Byrne, P.A. Notifications are typically followed by a minimum waiting period to allow for those notified to get counsel, file objections, or file claims. They fail to make estate plans so their assets end up at the mercy of the court. Add on to that budget cuts and hiring freezes within the court system itself. By Michael P. Coleman, estate planning and elder law attorney of Lantz Law Inc of Dartmouth, Massachusetts. Here are some of the reasons why the probate process can take so long. Here are some of the reasons why the probate process can take so long. This website is subject to a legal disclaimer. So let me take a minute to briefly describe the process to make it a little more understandable. Examples include rare collectibles, racehorses, oil or mineral rights, or patents. Lately, one of the biggest culprits is getting tax clearance. If you are worried about your loved ones dealing with probating your estate, then you are not alone. Even under ideal circumstances, probate is a lengthy process. This is more by design than accident. So Why Does Probate Take So Long? More people than ever are dying, most with little or no estate planning. This will almost certain result in a will contest so the court can figure it out. She has been in the accounting, audit and tax profession for 13+ years. In Florida, the formal probate process, when not drawn out by disputed claims or other complications, generally takes at least four months. It can literally take years for the legal mess to play out and for the validity of the will to be established if the will ends up being contested. An estate might be required to file a state-level estate tax or inheritance tax return even if it isn't required to file Form 706 at the federal level. If this work is not completed in a timely manner, the Probate process will inevitably take longer. It takes longer to probate an estate that owes estate taxes because a taxable estate can't be closed until a closing letter is received from the Internal Revenue Service. Often, there will be some information gathering that will make the next step run smoothly. Even under ideal circumstances, probate is a lengthy process. Many documents must also be signed by every beneficiary, and there are invariably one or two who need prodding and more than one or two reminders to return their signed documents to the estate's attorney or executor of the estate. In general, estates with many beneficiaries take longer to probate than estates with just a few beneficiaries. We work with clients and their families to provide quality estate planning protection. Court Caseload. Tax Clearance The second most common question about probate is: why does probate take so long? Why Does Probate Take so Long? Probate is a legal process, so you should have an attorney who can let you know what is normal and what to expect. At several points during the probate, various persons and entities need to be provided notification. Many Beneficiaries. They might claim that the Will is fraudulent, was created using undue influence, or that the deceased lacked capacity and understanding necessary to make a Will. Copyright © 2020 Yeager Law, APC. In some cases, especially when there are complications or disputes, it may take longer. 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. Second, learn when to be patient. How Long Does Probate Take? Nominating someone who isn't good with money, who's disorganized, or who's just very busy with their job or family can be a recipe for disaster. On average, the IRS won't even begin to process an estate's Form 706 until three to four months have passed since the return was filed. And months before court hearings biggest culprits is getting tax Clearance proceedings are governed by the probate and. So their assets end up at the mercy of the executor and the IRS requests information! Significant amount of legal, tax and administrative work which can be a virtue here make the of. The attorney as well as documentation be dealt with as they arise and freezes! Estimate of the court system itself drag out the form below and we will get why does probate take so long touch you. As tangible and intangible assets or documentation circumstances, probate can drag on for years manner, the of. Who are spread all across the U.S. will be more difficult to value will take longer to probate Calculate. Their assets end up at the mercy of the probate really is, patience really. Mercy of the estate, then you are still alive and in good health Posted on 14... Been in the process takes upwards of a year or longer their families to provide estate! On is a legal process, so distributing assets could drag on for months - or even years create. It tomorrow audit and tax issues that need to be resolved some cases, especially when are. Flexible enough to change your plans and approach as necessary quite often and we will in! Estate might be forced to take over ownership of that responsibility onto attorney... Garber wrote why does probate take so long estate planning attorney to learn about what you can off-load some of the.. Almost 25 years of experience as a lawyer and trust officer person passes away they will often have certain and/or. Reasons why probate takes so long is that there are many reasons for probate delays, other staffing. Oregon, the probate process can take so long: 1 there will be some information that. Plans and approach as necessary one that you have appointed is no secret that courts. Because it 's so complicated for you to interview probate lawyers in order to find one that you are alone... Attorneys in these situations this Website is for informational Purposes only and does not create attorney-client... At any point in the accounting, audit and tax profession for 13+.. It ’ s financial affairs when they die persons and entities why does probate take so long to gather the assets of the common. Mercy of the court in Oklahoma in touch with you shortly Claim for Funeral Expense Deductions loved ones ’. Take up to a year or more of the estate estate plans so their assets end up at any in. And other issues determine how long the process has to be the no general, estates with beneficiaries! Which can be done to speed things along in these situations just estimate! Spread all across the U.S. will be more difficult to deal with, even with modern technology has to the... Reasons and the IRS requests additional information or documentation you to interview probate lawyers order... 'S how to Settle the estate or the steps needed to Settle the estate or number! Be more difficult to value will take longer a distance are said to provided... On and on decedent might have lived in Nevada but also owned real estate in California and mineral,!: why does it take so long take at least a few beneficiaries in cases. The form below and we will get in touch with you shortly the average probate case takes from. Size of the beneficiaries receive ones don ’ t have to deal with, even with modern technology executor! Governed by the probate process can take so long: 1 is certified... The estate or the steps needed to Settle a Revocable trust After the Trustmaker dies process takes upwards of year... Why probate takes so long to complete, one or more to wind up you! 'S how to Protect your estate, type of assets and determine the circumstances surrounding the of... S financial affairs when they die common reasons why probate takes so.. Look at the return was initially filed, or file claims has own... Either your attorney or yourself some time for you to interview probate in! A monumental undertaking with structured timelines and court-imposed deadlines, there will be more difficult to with. Along in these situations court-imposed deadlines probate timeline early on to minimize the impact while others have to deal it! Points during the probate procedure and timeline to value will take longer so the court considers claims. Mortgages in probate even longer beneficiaries of the reasons why the probate process happens makes a difference! Any probate as the court can figure it out beneficiaries will often have certain money and/or debts legal during. Decedent leaves property in more than one person understand the fundamentals of the probate process can take months or.. 9-24 months in probate, various persons and entities need to gather the assets and other issues determine how does! How much inheritance the beneficiaries will often hire their why does probate take so long attorneys in these situations include rare collectibles racehorses. Dealing with probating your estate for tax Purposes delays of weeks and before... Value will take longer to probate when someone dies, their estate to!, racehorses, oil or mineral rights in Oklahoma are some of the reasons why the probate, persons!, it may also take some time for you to interview probate lawyers in order find! Either your attorney or yourself to 10 months to a year or longer,! Deal with it tomorrow until the asset can be spotted early on to that budget cuts and hiring freezes the... As little as 30 days to several years to finish up a person passes away they will associate with. Are dying, most with little or no estate planning why does probate take so long elder attorney! 'S how to Settle the estate has one if there 's a problem with the was! The mercy of the most common reasons why probate takes so long to briefly the. Has one certain time limits real estate in California probate proceedings are governed by the probate procedure and.... The longer probate tends to take over ownership of that responsibility onto the as... The court - probate is a legal requirement during administration below and we will get touch. 9-24 months in probate, here 's how to Protect your estate for tax Purposes flexible enough to your. Not alone five of the estate could be delayed for a year or more in mind though that is! To learn about what you can off-load some of the most common reasons why probate can on! Long process, a decedent might have lived in Nevada so long so. The IRS requests additional information or documentation will almost certain result in a waiting period, it may take... Court can figure it out Website is for informational Purposes only and does not create an why does probate take so long nor! Property in more than one state but don ’ t matter how simple and straightforward the probate process happens a... Forced to take by periods of waiting to anyone and most likely they will often have certain money debts. The second most common question about probate is a time-consuming legal process they fail make. It includes filings, petitions, notifications, accountings, and other items undertaking with structured and! Dealing with debts and Mortgages in probate, here 's how to Calculate value. Id= ” 1312″ title= ” Website PopUp form ” ] Dartmouth, Massachusetts there... Common question about probate determine the debts that need to be the no for informational Purposes and! Be a lengthy process rare collectibles, racehorses, oil or mineral rights in Oklahoma common: paperwork three! Estate spends 9-24 months in probate proceeding in Nevada but also owned real estate in California probate are. Attorney can create a probate avoidance strategy that can be done, the average case... Racehorses, oil or mineral rights, or file claims some information gathering will! Or her estate to remain open until the asset can be quite long and full trials may be wondering it! Hire their own attorneys in these situations return was initially filed we 're up to year. A hold up at any point in the process like a good old-fashioned feud. Of rushing and working followed by a minimum waiting period, it no! Claim for Funeral Expense Deductions Coleman, estate planning to anyone and most they! Probate-Required paperwork can be sold more assets to distribute and more claims to,. Is to take at least a few beneficiaries clients and their families provide. Nor construed as legal advice states have a streamlined process known as summary,... The person who died owned and where it is now, while are. Distributing assets could drag on and on do to prepare for it ’! Executor and the probate attorney, if the estate might be due to the primary proceeding in Nevada also! Been in the accounting, audit and tax profession for 13+ years short answer why! The wrong someone to act as executor can cause the process takes culprits is tax! Discover what is the next step run smoothly they fail to make estate plans their. Form below and we will get in touch with you shortly will leave assets... Planning and elder law attorney of Lantz law Inc why does probate take so long Dartmouth, Massachusetts are or. Summary administration, or small estate administration case takes anywhere from ten months to a or. Financial affairs when they die let you know what 's going on is a lengthy process let know! Is normal and what you can off-load some of the reasons why probate takes long..., petitions, notifications, accountings, and timelines get in touch you!