Navigating life after a loved one dies is complicated and challenging in more ways than one. Figuring out how to handle their estate is just one difficult aspect of this and many people are not aware of the process involved or the timeline.
Your loved one’s estate will most likely go through probate after they pass away, which is a court-supervised process of estate administration. For most people, this is a confusing and time-consuming process that has many steps and layers.
The overall timeline for probate can vary based on several factors including size of the estate, amounts of debt, potential contested issues and the number of heirs. However, most probate processes last about two years, though it can go on for much longer depending on the circumstances.
A typical probate timeline includes:
- Proving validity of the will
- Identifying and notifying heirs and other relatives
- Court hearings
- Issuing documents such as letters of administration, orders for probate, duties and liabilities
- Notices to creditors and the Department of Health Services
- Estate inventory and appraisal to calculate value
- Paying bills and taxes including administration costs
- Petitions and hears on petitions
- Distribution of assets
As you can see, the steps involved in this process can be quite extensive and costly. Each individual estate and probate process will vary depending on the state and circumstances due to the varying requirements and applicable procedures as well as any potential challenges and legal disputes.
Familiarizing yourself with probate and the general timeline can help you get a better understanding of how your loved one’s estate will be handled and what you can expect during the process.