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Following in the wake of a loved one’s death, probate is an often dreaded process. The court supervised process of administering and distributing a person’s estate, probate is notoriously complicated, as well as time-consuming and expensive. Beneficiaries of the estate must wait until the personal representative of the estate has managed and inventoried all estate assets, notified and paid all creditors of the estate, and other tasks before estate assets can be cleared for distribution. When all anyone wants to do is get the process over with, probate can seem to go on forever. In reality, most of the time, it spans several months and up to a year. That time frame, however, can greatly increase depending on whether there are any factors that cause delays in probate proceedings. Let’s take a look at some of the more common reasons for delays in probate proceedings.

What Causes Delays in Probate Proceedings?

First, the size of an estate as well as the complexity of the assets in the estate can have a big impact on how long probate proceedings take. Some assets, such as rare collectibles or business interests, can be difficult to value and an expert appraiser must be brought in to assign it a value. This can cause delays in probate proceedings.

The location of assets of an estate can also contribute to delays in probate proceedings. For instance, if the decedent had property in another state, it is likely that the out-of-state property will have to go through ancillary probate. What this means, essentially, is that there will be another probate proceeding for the estate, running simultaneously in another state. This, of course, can cause significant complications and delays in the original probate proceedings.

The heirs of an estate can be a particularly complicating factor in the probate process. The behavior and actions of the heirs can have a significant impact on the length of time it takes for probate proceedings to wrap up. Heirs that are discontent with the contents of a will or the estate plans of the deceased can take it out in probate proceedings in any number of unproductive ways. They can raise objections and even challenge the very validity of the will. These are things that will need to be resolved prior to the probate process moving forward which means that the heirs can be responsible for some of the lengthier probate delays.

The personal representative of an estate has a central role in the probate proceedings and, thus, can be responsible for the efficient administration of the estate as well as any undue delays in probate. This is one reason choosing the right personal representative of an estate can be so important. The personal representative is tasked with critical jobs to complete throughout probate proceedings. The timely accomplishment of such jobs is what moves probate proceedings forward. Without the proper and timely execution of the jobs the personal representative is responsible for accomplishing, probate proceedings stall and delays result.

Estate Planning Attorney

At Verras Law, we can help you establish an estate plan that avoids probate in full or in part. Furthermore, if you are in the midst of probate proceedings, we are here to assist and help the process move along as quickly and efficiently as possible. Contact Verras Law today.