When you draw up a last will to arrange for the distribution of your resources after you die, you should understand the fact that the inheritances will not be immediately available to your heirs.
The first order of business would be the admittance of the will to probate. Probate is the legal process of estate administration. The executor that you choose to administer the estate admits the will to the court. The court will determine the validity of the will and supervise the administration of the estate.
Duration of the Process
One of the objectives that you would logically have when you are planning your estate will be to facilitate a relatively fast and efficient transfers of assets to your loved ones. When you hear about the fact that no inheritances will be forthcoming until the process of probate has run its course, you may wonder how long it will take.
This is a question that does not have one simple answer. Suffice to say that it will take months at minimum even in very straightforward and uncomplicated cases. More complicated cases can actually take multiple years.
Why would probate take so much time? Think about the things that must be accomplished. The executor must notify creditors so that he or she can pay final debts. The process allows a certain amount of time for these creditors to come forward.
The property that comprises the estate can exist in various different forms. There can be automobiles, coin collections, artwork, real property, businesses, securities, jewelry, etc. Liquidation of property may be necessary to follow the terms of distribution that are recorded in the last will. The executor is not necessarily going to be able to sell all of these things at fair prices overnight.
Disagreements among interested parties can also slow things down considerably. In fact, a formal challenge to the will could be presented. This type of thing can bring things to a standstill.
As a case in point, the highly publicized Anna Nicole Smith legal struggle with the Marshall family outlived both Smith and her original opponent E. Pierce Marshall. It took around 16 years for that case to be resolved.
It is possible to arrange for the transfer of your monetary assets after your passing outside of the process of probate. There are a number of different probate avoidance strategies that can be implemented.
If you would like to explore all of your options so that you can make an informed decision, feel free to contact our firm to request a free consultation. We will answer all of your questions, explain the possibilities to you, and help you put a plan in place if you want to go forward.