Probate is Not a Long Process in Most Cases
The probate process can get drawn out and expensive in some cases, and it is always beneficial to do your best to avoid probate through effective estate planning. However, if your estate does have to go through probate, you should not worry about it taking years for the case to wrap up.
Typically, the only real delay in the probate process is the waiting period in which creditors have time to file claims against the property. This may take several months once the probate proceeding notices are officially published. After that waiting period is over, the rest of the estate administration and probate process will depend on how long it takes the personal representative to collect assets, pay off debts and taxes and distribute the remaining assets to beneficiaries.
Still, there are some rare circumstances in which the probate process can drag on for a long time. The following are some examples:
- Considerable family disagreements: If a family member decides to contest the will or siblings fight about how they will divide the assets, a court may need to intervene. This will significantly lengthen the process.
- Complicated estates: An extremely large and complicated estate that owes federal or state taxes will take a little longer to probate. There will likely be many more creditor claims on the property, along with more issues to navigate. However, an overwhelming majority of people do not owe estate taxes.
- Continuing income: There are some estates that continue to receive income for decades after the person’s death, which can complicate matters and result in longer probate. Think of celebrities, for example, who earn royalties through their music or films after their passing.
For further guidance on probate and related issues, contact an experienced Florida estate planning lawyer with BaumannKangas Estate Law.