We understand that going through probate can be a stressful process.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding probate, it could also become a complicated, drawn out process. But that's not always the case.
While we can't give you a definitive answer to how long probate will take for your exact circumstances, there are some general timelines we can discuss.
Our probate attorney breaks down the probate process, including how long it takes, here!
What is Probate?
Probate is the process that's usually required to distribute assets after a person passes away.
During this process, a court validates the decedent's last will and testament. After everything is determined to be in proper order, the court will use the decedent’s assets to pay any outstanding debt they had. Any remaining assets are distributed to the appropriate beneficiaries.
How Long Does Probate Take?
In general, it takes about six to twelve months for the probate process to be complete. This timeline includes finalization, debt settlement, and asset allocation.
The primary factor of how long probate will take depends on the number of unallocated assets left after debts are identified and settled.
Probate will usually only take about six to nine-months if most assets are delegated before passing.
Probate for Small Estates
Certain states, such as Florida and New York, have different types of probate depending on the size of the estate.
For example, Florida has a summary probate administration for estates valued at less than $75,000 without any debt. In some instances, probate on these small estates can be completed within one month.
How Long Does Probate Take Without a Will?
Without a will, probate can take up to a year or take longer. Again, this depends on the number of assets that don’t have a predetermined beneficiary.
Can Probate be Expedited?
In some cases, yes.
Depending on the state in which probate is filed, it can be expedited. The terms that allow probate to be expedited vary from state to state.
Florida, for example, has a procedure called Summary Administration that allows streamlined estate transfer of assets under at least one of the following conditions:
The total estate is not valued at more than $75,000
The former estate owner has been deceased for more than two years
What Causes Probate to Take Longer?
Probate is by no means a rapid process. No one wants it to drag on longer than it needs to, so having your ducks in a row is important.
Here are some things that could extend the timeline of the probate process.
Disputes over assets
Debt left by the decedent, including unpaid taxes
Need for form 706 estate tax return filing
Beneficiaries live far away
The decedent had several bank accounts