What Is The Probate Process?
The probate process can be intimidating. If you have not lost a loved one before, then you may not know what to expect from probate.
Probate refers to the process of an estate going through the court system to distribute assets to heirs. Not all estates go through probate. The deceased person may have set up their estate to skip probate through things like trusts. In some jurisdictions, heirs can also agree to avoid probate for uncomplicated estates.
To find out if an estate must be probated, you may need to talk to the executor or personal representative of the estate. They will have information about whether the estate will go through probate. They may also be able to give you some idea of the estate’s complexity. However, at the beginning of the probate process, the executor may not know how long probate will take.
Who is the executor? An executor or personal representative is a person who handles the estate’s affairs. They pay bills, collect debts, manage property, and may sell off property. They also distribute property to heirs. However, they cannot distribute that property until they have collected debts and paid bills. People can name an executor in their will. The court can also assign a personal representative.
In probate, the court supervises the distribution of the estate. These judges have multiple goals. First, they want to make sure that estates comply with their obligations. However, their main purpose is to ensure that the deceased’s wishes are observed.
Probate begins when someone, often the executor, files a petition with the court. To do so, they must file a death certificate and an original copy of the deceased’s will.
One of the most frequent questions people ask us is how long probate takes.
How Long Does Probate Take?
That question is very difficult to answer. That is because several factors can impact the length of a case.
- How big is the estate?
- Do people owe the estate money?
- Are the estate’s holdings complicated?
- Does the estate have debts?
- Is the estate contesting any of the debts?
- What are the state’s laws regarding time periods for people to make claims.
The more factors that are involved, the longer the process will take. In addition, the executor may have to liquify some of the estate’s assets. They have a duty to get fair market value for them, but depending on demand, it can take a long time to sell those assets. Until probate concludes, the executor cannot disburse estate funds.
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