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How long does the probate process take?

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If you recently lost your mom or dad, you now may be in charge of settling their estate. You might feel overwhelmed by this task. You know the process may be complicated. You also know that the probate process can be lengthy. So how long exactly will probate take?

Understanding probate

First, you may not know exactly what probate is. It is the legal process involved in settling someone's estate. With a will, probate involves proving that the will is valid, distributing the assets as the will lays out and paying any applicable taxes. How long it will take your parent’s estate to go through probate depends on several factors. If their estate is simple and no one disputes their will, you could settle their estate within six months. If your parent had set up a living trust for their assets, those assets don't have to go through probate. However, the probate process could take more than a year if any of the following circumstances apply:

  • If you live in a different state and can’t easily meet with an attorney helping with the estate probate administration
  • If the estate has numerous beneficiaries and some of them live out of state too
  • If numerous debts need to be settled as part of the probate process
  • If one of your siblings decides to contest your parent’s will
  • If the estate assets are complicated (such as multiple properties are involved or you have a family business included in the assets)

Getting help with probate administration

If your parent had a complicated estate, you may want help with probate administration. An estate planning attorney can provide guidance about the process and even handle the process for you to take that burden off your plate. An attorney also can help if your parent’s will is contested – to help resolve the dispute as quickly as possible.

Settling a parent’s estate can be emotionally difficult and confusing. Sometimes, getting help with probate administration can ensure the process goes more smoothly and you have the support you need in a difficult time.

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