Probate Process Timeline

Understanding The Probate Process Timeline

If you find yourself asking about the length of the probate process from start to finish, sit down and buckle up because unfortunately, the process is an unpredictable and lengthy legal procedure. The length of the probate process timeline depends on several factors.

For example, the size of the decedent’s estate and level of complexity, whether or not the decedent left behind a will and if it’s contested, outstanding debts and obligations, and the number of proposed heirs can all add several months or years to the procedure.

Other factors may include tax complications, non-probate lawsuits, and probate procedural requirements. It’s important to note that procedural requirements regarding probate vary by state. Additionally, the majority of courts have local court rules. It is a good idea to research probate law and various probate attorneys ahead of time. Researching probate will facilitate an understanding of various state requirements, local court rules, and key probate terms.

In turn, this will help you understand what is involved for the probate process. Another benefit of researching probate law and contacting a probate attorney regarding the process details of probate is that you will be able to determine a timeline tailored to the specific circumstances of your probate matter.

Check out our Probate Timeline chart below. The time estimates will not apply in every situation since specifics of the probate process differ with every estate, however our probate timeline can act as a reference tool for approximating how long your probate process may take and how long it may be until you can access your inheritance. If you are currently involved in probate, you may be able to identify which stage of the probate process you are in by reviewing the timeline below.

Probate Process Timeline (24 Month Period)

probate process timeline

Whether you are currently involved in probate or you anticipate being involved, this probate process timeline can give you an idea of just how much money you may need in order to withstand the entire duration. If you find yourself low of funds, IFC can help you get an inheritance advance in less than a week. If you’d like to received a free consultation, please complete the brief form below.

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Understanding the Inheritance Process

To understand why the probate process can take so long to complete, one should understand the fundamentals of the probate timeline. The probate process begins after someone dies. The person who died (the decedent) may have died testate (with a will) or intestate (without a will).

Despite the existence of a will or not, the decedent’s assets, including his or her personal property and real property, must be transferred to someone else. If the person dies with a valid will, all assets (referred to as the estate) will be transferred to the person or persons designated in the will. If the person dies without a will or if the probate court determines the will to be invalid, the estate will be transferred according to state law. State laws vary regarding estate distribution.

Before a decedent’s estate can be distributed, whether according to a will or according to state law, all of the decedent’s assets must be allocated, accounted for, and inventoried. Additionally, all debts, fees, taxes, and other monetary obligations must be settled. This can add several months in itself to the inheritance timeline depending on the size of the estate and the number of varying assets. Furthermore, any and all probate related disputes and non-probate lawsuits must be completed before the inheritance process can proceed.

Easing the Strain of the Probate Process

Considering all of the above, the probate timeline often lasts an entire year for even simple estates. Inheritance timeline estimates need to take into consideration contested wills, other potential lawsuits, and other time-consuming complications. Often times, probate can take several months to several years. In rare and extremely complicated cases, probate can even take decades to distribute inheritance assets.