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Common causes of probate delays

On Behalf of | Jul 5, 2024 | Probate

When a loved one dies, their estate may undergo a legal process called probate. It is often a complex and time-consuming process that involves multiple steps. The first step is validating the deceased person’s will. The next step is identifying and appraising their assets. After the asset appraisal comes paying off debts and taxes. The last step is often distributing the remaining property to heirs.

Probate can sometimes stretch on for months or even years. This may cause unnecessary stress and frustration for grieving families.

Factors that may delay probate

Several factors may cause the probate process to drag longer than anticipated:

  • Contested wills

When someone challenges the validity of your will, it may delay the probate process. Will contests are one of the most frequent causes of probate delays. Questions may also arise about the deceased person’s mental capacity when they wrote the will. Such disputes can extend the probate process significantly.

  • Complicated assets

Estates with complex financial portfolios, multiple properties or business interests may require more time. Determining their value accurately and distributing them according to the will’s instructions can be time-consuming.

  • Outstanding debts and taxes

Settlement of all debts and taxes is necessary before beneficiaries can receive their inheritances. This includes everything from mortgage payments to income taxes. Identifying and resolving these obligations may delay the probate process.

Seeking professional help

Delays in the probate process can be frustrating, so seeking help from an experienced attorney may be beneficial. They can help create a comprehensive plan that addresses potential issues before they arise, potentially preventing lengthy probate delays.

Understanding the factors that can delay probate is crucial for anyone involved in estate planning or administration. Knowing these potential issues helps you better prepare for the future. You can also protect your loved ones from unnecessary stress and complications.