If you are the executor of an estate, you may be wondering if you have to probate the will within a certain amount of time. Just like any area of the law, probate has court-imposed deadlines as well as structured procedures and regulations. Most of the deadlines are in place to move the process along and close the estate out in a reasonable time frame, while other time frames are in place to prevent creditors from harassing beneficiaries of the estate. This article will give you a general idea about probate time frames and what those limits mean for you.
Most states do have time limits for heirs to produce a will for probate. Time frames vary from state to state, and those time limits can be from a few years to up to 21 years. Some states do provide for special circumstances, such as an heir discovering a will past the state's imposed time frame for starting probate.
Some states have reverse limits as well, meaning you can't admit a will to probate until a certain amount of time has passed since the decedent's death.
A Creditor's Role
As part of the probate process, creditors must be put on notice that someone who owes them money has passed away. Creditors can then submit a claim for money owed. States have a variety of different time frames for receiving claims. Also, some states allow a creditor to step in and start the probate process in order to ensure they get paid, but the creditor has to wait a few months before they can move the court for probate.
Challenges During the Probate Process
When beneficiaries and heirs don't agree with terms of a will, they have a limited period of time to object. No matter the jurisdiction, they can contest the will after the will has been admitted for probate, but the amount of time they will have to do so does vary from state to state.
The probate process itself can go from a few months to up to a year or more. This is dependent upon how many assets are in the decedent's estate, and if there are any beneficiaries that decide to contest the will. The executor's job is to probate the will as quickly as possible, but circumstances that hold up the finalizing the estate may be through no fault of the executor. Having a probate attorney like one from Gruber & Associates, PC assist you during the probate process is most beneficial.