After an elderly parent dies, there are many things to take care of. You may have funeral plans to make, extended family and friends to contact, and last-minute details to attend to. Of course, your primary concern is to take comfort in those who shared your love for your family member.
However, at some point, you and the rest of your family will have to deal with the estate. This means beginning the probate process. Probate is the legal procedure that closes your loved one’s estate by confirming his or her identity, the identity of the heirs, the value of the assets in the estate and other details. As much as you may be ready to move on and resume your normal life, probate may be necessary, and it may take time.
How long will it take?
There are numerous steps to the probate process, and some steps cannot move forward until the previous matters are complete. This means that, at any time, the process may stall or break down altogether. Some of the most common reasons for a delay in the completion of probate include the following:
- Since many probate documents require original signatures, naming beneficiaries who live far away can be an issue that interrupts the process.
- Your loved one named many beneficiaries, which requires coordination for obtaining the necessary signatures.
- The executor of the estate is not local and therefore may be unavailable to keep the process moving forward.
- Although there are limited grounds for disputing a will, if anyone poses a valid contest, probate stops to address those matters.
- Dealing with your heir’s creditors, especially tax entities, can be time-consuming, and probate requires the executor to prioritize and pay the debts before moving forward.
- The complexity of your loved one’s assets, such as those that are rare or difficult to valuate, may stall probate indefinitely.
- Disputes may arise concerning the value of assets, the actions of the executor, the ownership of property or other matters.
It is often difficult to predict how quickly probate might go, but a simple estate with no complications may still take several months. An estate with no will or other plans may present other kinds of issues the Texas court must deal with. If you are an heir to a loved one’s estate, you will certainly want to remain attentive to each step of the probate process to ensure the protection of your rights and best interests.