Regardless of whether you’re an estate representative, executor, or have any other connection to an estate being administered, it is common to wonder how long the estate asset distribution process will take. In reality, there is no fixed amount of time that estate distribution takes. Instead, this amount varies between estates based on various factors. While some people discover the probate process takes several months, other people find out that the estate administration process takes up to six months.
Why the Probate Process Takes Time
In short, the probate process can take a long time because it involves numerous steps. A person’s estate will be required to pass through probate if that person’s assets have more than a certain value or if the estate includes certain types of assets.
The probate process begins with the executor filing a petition with the court. The court will then appoint an executor. Sometimes, if the court is busy, the wait between the court appointment takes weeks or months. The executor must then give legal notice to creditors as well as other parties who have an interstate in the estate. The court will then review the deceased person’s will or determine that no will exists. After this, the executor will be tasked with locating the deceased person’s assets.
The executor must then complete an inventory of these assets and perform a valuation of the assets. Lastly, the executor will pay off creditors and pass on the remaining assets to any heirs.
This process can take even longer if disputes arise about the validity of the will or if any challenges are raised about how assets should be administered.
Estate Asset Distribution Outside of Probate
Even estates that are administered outside of probate can also take a long time. Some reasons why distribution outside of probate can take months or years is if there is difficulty locating the deceased person’s assets, challenges arise in unlocking that person’s safety deposit box or digital accounts, or if a will is declared invalid.
Ways to Make Asset Distribution Go Quicker
There are fortunately some ways to make asset distribution go faster, which include:
- Determine any debts and expenses owed by the deceased person as quickly as possible.
- While working with the estate, an executor should be contemporaneously working on an inventory of the deceased person’s assets and obtaining appraisals if necessary.
- Whenever possible, remember that deadlines for filing paperwork are important. Missing these deadlines can make the process take a much longer time.
- Keep detailed records of your estate. After this period has concluded, an executor will file the final report. Providing the most detailed and accurate reports possible can make this report speed up substantially.
Speak with an Experienced Estate Planning Lawyer
Estate planning is a complex process that involves various considerations. To make sure that you successfully face the various challenges that arise during estate administration, it can help to speak with a knowledgeable attorney. Contact Ettinger Estate Planning today for assistance.