How long does probate court take to make a decision?

Probate Basics

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One of the most frequently-asked questions associated with settling a deceased person’s estate is “How long does it take to probate a will?” The answer depends on several factors. However, in general, probate could take anywhere from a few months to more than a year (or even years).

Before we delve into what could affect the length of the probate process, though, let us discuss what probate is.

What is Probate?

Probate is a court-backed, legal process of settling the estate of a decedent. If there was a last will and testament, the process serves to validate it and settle any quarrels over inheritances: if the deceased died without a will, the court must appoint an administrator for the estate. 

Probate also gives the executor designated in the will the legal right to supervise the probate estate, which include sharing assets and settling debts.

How probate works

Probate is the assessment and transfer administration of estate assets formally owned by a deceased individual. When a property owner passes, his assets are commonly analyzed by a probate court. The probate court provides the final ruling on the division and sharing of assets to beneficiaries. A probate proceeding will normally begin by determining whether or not the deceased individual has provided a legalized will.

In a lot of cases, the deceased individual has established documentation, which consist of instructions on how their assets should be shared after death. But, in some cases, the deceased doesn’t leave a will.

Can an estate prevent probate?

Can one avoid probate?

In the interest of having a fast and inexpensive probate process as possible, it may be desirable to skip it altogether. The good news for those wondering how to prevent probate is that there are multiple ways, like the joint ownership of property ( property passes directly to other owner) or by choosing intended beneficiaries directly on life insurance, retirement, bank ( “Pay-on-death” or POD) , including investment ( “transfer-on-death” or TOD) accounts.

Creating a living trust is another effective option. The grantor (individual writing the trust) funds it by putting in assets of his or her choice. The grantor retains control over the trust’s property until death of incapacitation. At that point, the trust is turned over to the successor trustee (previously selected by the grantor) to share trust property based on the grantors wises. All this occurs outside the probate process.

How long does it take to probate a will?

Even if the estate owner left a will, if nay heirs dispute the contents of the will, the process can take much longer. In the event an heir doesn’t believe the deceased was in the right frame of mind during the time the will was created and signed, they can contest the will. In this case, a court hearing will be held so the concerns of the heirs can be heard and resolved.

The legal process of probate can take as little time as 6 months or as long as 2 years. There are multiple factors on how long the process will take. The complexity of an estate will extend the process, as well as cases where heirs dispute the will. Small estates may not even need probate. Getting the probate process started immediately ensures the estate closed as quickly as the court can.

Do I need a probate lawyer?

Hiring a probate lawyer is not a legal requirement during the process. However, if you are involved in probate, you might want to contact an attorney for advice, especially if you are serving as an executor or administrator and you have questions regarding your role or actions as you probate an estate.

Overall, remember that the best way to ensure that the probate process goes as fast and smoothly as possible for your own estate is to plan ahead of time. You won’t be around to experience. But your heirs will definitely be grateful.

Contact us

 Contact us to provide you with the best probate lawyer for your case. Our probate lawyers are quite experienced, understanding, and up-to-date about probate laws.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided in this blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. The content of this blog may not reflect the most current legal developments. No attorney-client relationship is formed by reading this blog or contacting Morgan Legal Group.

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