What Factors Lead to Probate Delays?

Fri Feb 12, 2021 | Probate |

One of the most common questions our clients ask is how long they can expect the probate process to take. Unfortunately, there is no hard and fast answer to this question, but most estates can get through the probate process in six to nine months. Unfortunately, the process can sometimes take far longer, thanks to various obstacles you may encounter. Working with a Boca Raton probate attorney can help avoid or minimize these delays. 

Multiple Beneficiaries

Wills with more than two or three beneficiaries can take longer to get through the probate process. All beneficiaries are entitled to notice of the probate process under Florida law, which can be cumbersome if the personal representative has to locate distant relatives or other people with who the decedent perhaps lost contact.  

Conflicts and Will Disputes

Multiple beneficiaries also increase the chances of will disputes and probate conflicts. That said, will disputes can occur in any context, regardless of the number of beneficiaries. Conflicts and disputes can significantly delay the probate process, especially if litigation becomes necessary. While working with an experienced Boca Raton probate attorney can help manage these disputes and hopefully avoid litigation, sometimes litigation is the only option. If you find the possibility of disputes and other conflicts troubling, we recommend that you work with an estate planning professional to ensure your will and other estate documents are crystal clear. 

Inaction by the Personal Representative

In many ways, the personal representative is responsible for the efficient administration of the estate. Unfortunately, people often choose their personal representative based on affection rather than their qualifications. Serving as the personal representative to an estate is a significant responsibility that requires considerable organizational and management skills. Many personal representatives can simply become overwhelmed and cannot move forward because they do not know what to do. This is why choosing your personal representative requires careful consideration when drafting your will. A Boca Raton probate attorney can also work with your personal representative to help them with the administration of the estate. 

Estates That Need to File Tax Returns

Another source of considerable delay is if the estate has to file a federal estate tax return. The probate process cannot be completed until the tax return has been reviewed and approved by the IRS, adding several months to the process. 

Unusual Assets

Estates that have unique assets can also take longer to make their way through the probate process. This is because it can be challenging to determine the value of the assets. Many of these assets are to be sold as part of probate. Finding someone who can appraise the asset and then find a potential buyer can add a considerable amount of time to the probate process. 

Work with a Boca Raton Probate Attorney

An experienced probate lawyer can help you navigate the estate administration process as quickly and efficiently as possible. If you’re involved in an estate that seems to be taking longer than it should, a Boca Raton probate attorney at Ellis Law Group can help you understand your options. To schedule a consultation, call us at 561-910-7500 or contact us online.