When you die with a will, it must be legally verified before execution. The entire process of administering your estate before passage to the beneficiaries is known as probate.
A lot goes on during the probate process, and it can take time to finalize. Usually, the executor you appointed will be in charge of your estate, although under the court’s supervision.
The probate process explained
Once the probate court confirms the executor and the legality of the will, it sets things in motion. The executor now has the legal mandate to execute the will.
First, an executor must consolidate all the estate’s assets and pay off all debts and any outstanding taxes. It can take time to clear all dues since not all creditors with a claim to your estate may be known at the time. Once all dues have been addressed, the executor can then continue to distribute the estate to your beneficiaries in accordance with the will.
How long does everything take?
Every estate administration is different and the time taken to conclude the probate process varies. For instance, if there is a will contest, it must be addressed before the execution of the will. Such delays can stretch the time it takes to settle your estate.
It could be months or years before your loved ones take over their inheritance.
Is probate compulsory?
In most cases where there is a will, your estate has to pass through probate. However, if you wish to avoid the court process, there are alternative estate planning options you can utilize to achieve similar results. Trusts, for example, do not involve probate.
It is advisable to think about the implementation of your estate plans when you make them. You may be surprised to learn that there are other more efficient ways of passing over your estate to loved ones.