About 68% of Americans don't have a will. What happens to all of their assets when they die? The lack of a will can make an inheritance tough.
Probate law is complex, but if you're inheriting something from someone (with or without a will), you will need some legal assistance.
Have you recently learned you have inherited a house or property? Do you have questions about what is going to happen next?
If you want to learn more about probate law and how long probate might take, keep reading below.
Why Does Probate Exist?
Probate is an important process that directs a person's estate after death.
Basically, the probate process is meant to ensure your will is legally valid, your wishes are executed, and taxes are paid. Without probate, it would be much more difficult for someone to ensure their estate goes where they want it to go after death.
If a person has a clearly written last will and testament, the probate process is likely to go much more smoothly. There will be fewer court dates and less ambiguity surrounding the final instructions.
People that die without a will are going to have their items distributed in probate court based on the state's intestate law. For this type of situation, you may need to hire a probate attorney.
If you have inherited a home, you will need to go through the probate process unless the person that left you the home set up a living trust.
Because of the legal complexities that can occur throughout the process and probate court dates, you will want to get in touch with a probate lawyer once you find out about the inheritance. They can help you with legal documents and talk with the judge on your behalf.
Length of Time to Go Through Probate
Before discussing lengths of time, it is important to note that not all estates must go through the same probate process.
For example, in Pennsylvania, if an estate contains less than $50,000 in assets, there is a simplified process that is much faster. However, for estates larger than this, the formal probate process must be completed.
With that being said, the formal probate process will take some time. Because of the necessary court dates and legal proceedings, it will likely take at least a few months to complete the requirements.
If the assets are not complex and the will is clear, the formal probate process can take as little as 3 or 4 months. However, in other cases, probate will take up to a year or longer to be completed.
Do You Need a Probate Attorney?
If you've found yourself caught up in an issue with an estate or have been named a beneficiary, an experienced probate attorney can help.
We have the legal expertise needed to guide you in the right direction and can help you determine the next steps you should take.
Looking for some legal assistance right now? Contact us to get the questions you have answered today.