Probate is a long and drawn-out process that must proceed according to the laws of each state. It is required that a complete inventory of the deceased’s assets be completed in a timely fashion. In most cases, this is approximately 90 days.
Notifying the Beneficiaries of an Estate
Typically, beneficiaries must be notified within 60 days of a probate hearing. This allows them to make arrangements for any inheritance taxes that may need to be paid. Public notices must also be posted to inform individuals who may have a right to a portion of the estate but not otherwise listed in the will or other legal documents. In most states, if a person believes they have a right to a portion of the estate, they only have a specific amount of time to contact the administrator of the estate in writing.
Creditors’ Claims on an Estate
Creditors must also notify the administrator of any claims that are owed to them by the deceased. In most states, the time frame to file these types of claims is limited to 30 days. Each state is different, however, and the timeframes are strictly enforced. For their claim to be considered, creditors must have valid documentation and receipts to offer support. Once the claim has been verified and substantiated, it will be paid as part of the estate’s expenses. Creditors can be notified in a variety of ways, including the public notices that are posted.
Dispersing the Assets of an Estate
All of these steps within the probate process can take several months to complete. All of the debts and expenses associated with the case must be paid before any of the assets can be distributed to the beneficiaries. Depending on the size and value of the estate, beneficiaries can expect to start receiving their inheritance between four and eight months after all of the expenses have been paid and other legal matters have been settled. If the estate is rather large and businesses are involved, the length of time it takes to complete the probate process can take several months. In some cases, it may take several years for a probate case to reach completion.
Contesting a Will
A probate case can be extended if a will is contested. If a dispute arises between two or more of the intended beneficiaries, specific steps will need to be taken to determine the validity of each of the beneficiary’s claims. While the administrator will attempt to stick to the will as much as possible, there will be times when a decision is made to “break the will” and alter how the deceased’s assets are distributed. This usually only occurs with estates that are rather large or that involve several businesses or assets. For a person to contest a will, they must inform the administrator in writing and provides reasons as to why they believe they should be included.
How to Get Help With Your Estate & Probate
Probate cases take time to resolve.
If you have questions about probate, wills, trusts, or any estate law, call the professional staff at Indigo Family Law.