When a parent passes away, the grief and sorrow are often overwhelming. On top of dealing with emotional despair, you may also have to deal with your parent’s financial and personal affairs. This is especially true if the deceased named you the executor of his or her estate.
Part of your duties may entail going through probate. This is a process that validates a will and ensures the executor manages the estate correctly, including paying off debts and distributing assets to beneficiaries. Probate can take months to years, depending on a few factors.
If your parent did not create estate plans before passing away, the process may take longer. If you have the legal right to, you will have to petition the court to become the executor of the estate. Another situation that can lengthen the process is having a questionable will. Family members tend to dispute a will that has one or more following traits:
On the other hand, a current, thorough will makes probate go by faster.
The complexity of the estate is another influential factor. Estates that have few or low-value assets often have an easier time going through probate. Assets in trusts are not subject to this legal process.
The fewer mistakes the executor makes, the smoother the proceedings go. Errors lead to costly delays and can even end in the court removing you (or whoever is the executor) from the role and appointing someone else. All this will take time.
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