You probably want your children to receive their inheritance as soon as possible. This is why you should know about events and occurrences that could make probate take longer than necessary.
As FindLaw explains, there are many factors that may slow down probate proceedings.
Having A Large Estate
If you end up with a sizable estate upon your death, it could take time to transfer it to your heirs. Reducing your estate may reduce the probate period. One way is to use non-probate methods to pass some of your property such as beneficiary designations, payable on death accounts and trusts. This may leave only a small estate to go through probate.
Problems Finding Estate Property
Part of the duty of an executor is to gather and inventory the assets of an estate. It is important to make it easy for your executor to find everything. Otherwise, probate could drag out while your executor searches for all of your property.
Mishandling Estate Property
Sometimes an executor makes mistakes managing the estate or carrying out court actions. This can add more court days to sort things out. In some cases, an executor purposely destroys or steals property, which generally leads to court actions that further prolong probate.
Conflicts And Breakdowns
Probate can come to a halt if disputes arise that require resolution. Examples include the following:
- A will contest
- Fights between heirs or family members
- Real estate title defects
- Court battles with creditors over estate debts
- Estate tax problems
If you are still in the middle of making estate plans, now is a good time to consider how probate could slow down. You might make things easier on your heirs and your executor by planning how to avoid probate or resolve probate difficulties.