Understanding A Few Reasons Why Probate Can Take So Long

If your loved one has recently passed away, then you may soon find out that your family member's estate will go into probate. This means that a legal process must be followed to take care of the deceased individual's property and debts. Unfortunately, it can take several years for the probate process to resolve itself. This is extremely frustrating for some people, but there are many reasons why it can take so long. Keep reading to understand a few. 

A Process Must Be Followed

When a person dies and an estate is settled, there is a specific process that must be followed. The process starts with the admittance of the will to the court, the appointing of the probate administrator, and the contacting of all beneficiaries. A court date is also set. At this time, beneficiaries have the option of contesting the will. Individuals may contest if they feel that a newer will was drafted or if someone believes that the will was created under duress. 

In most cases, the initial hearing goes smoothly. If the will is contested, then another court date might be heard to hear arguments about this. If the will is accepted as is and the probate administrator is named, then the process continues. All debtors are contacted and the inventory of the estate is conducted to locate all property and to find the value of said property. 

Once the estate is arranged, funeral expenses, taxes, and debtors are paid. At this time, the rest of the property is transferred to the beneficiaries named in the will. All of these steps can take some time to work out legally and correctly. This is one of the main reasons why the probate process takes so long. However, if all rules and laws are followed, then there should be no future issues regarding the estate once probate is over.

Appraisals Are Sometimes Required

Some estates are more complicated than others. Most estates involve investments, bank accounts, and property like homes and cars. However, other estates involve artwork, antiques, and commercial property investments. These items, especially the specific non-cash goods can take some time to appraise. While appraisals may not need to be exact, in some cases the property may need to be used to pay off debts. When this happens, a more precise appraisal and auction process may be needed.

Also, if the estate must be split evenly between relatives, then this will require an appraisal of the estate so it can be evenly divided. This can take some time, especially if professionals need to be located in niche fields. 

For more information about probate and the process it requires, talk with a probate attorney, such as Davis and Mathis.