After a person dies, their money and property must be distributed to the right people, either according to their will or the state’s default distribution method. Most people want the settlement process to be completed quickly, but this process, called probate, can take between 18 and 24 months. This delay can create unnecessary stress.
5 Reasons Probate Takes So Long
There are many reasons why the probate process takes so long. Here are five of the most common:
- Paperwork. Managing the paperwork required by probate can be a chore with structured timelines and court-imposed deadlines.
- Complexity. Estates with numerous or complicated accounts or property simply take longer to probate, since there are more items to address.
- Probate court caseload. Probate courts often deal with high caseloads and limited staff.
- Challenges to the will. Heirs, beneficiaries, and those who expected to be beneficiaries, can challenge the will’s instructions and legal requirements. While state law dictates the time period during which objection can be heard, will challenges can add years to the probate process. Challenges may include assertions that the will maker was: Lacking testamentary capacity (i.e., lacking the legal or mental ability to make a will), Subject to undue influence or pressure A victim of fraud
- Creditor Notification. The deceased person’s creditors must be notified of the deceased person’s passing so they have time to submit any legal claims for debts. This time period also varies from state to state, but it is generally four to nine months.
The bottom line is that, while most state probate laws are designed to move the process forward quickly, that doesn’t always happen.
Avoiding Probate with a Revocable Living Trust Is Better
If a deceased person creates a trust to hold their accounts and property, the long, complicated probate process can be avoided. By creating and funding a trust, those accounts and property are no longer viewed as being owned by the deceased person, but by the trust. Their distribution is controlled by the instructions in the trust agreement. Administering a trust instead of a probate is faster; beneficiaries receive assets more quickly, costs are reduced, and stress levels are kept in bounds.
Take Action Now
If you need help settling a probate estate, we can remove some of the burden so you can move on with your life. We can also help you avoid burdening your loved ones by avoiding probate with a trust. Contact us today. As an added convenience to our clients, we are able to meet via video conferencing if you prefer.
You can use the link below to schedule a call with Gabriel Katzner, or just call us at 855.528.9637 to learn more about how best to plan today to protect those most important to you