The probate process is unfamiliar to a lot of people. While many people understand that individuals write wills to dictate what they want to happen with their assets when they pass on, they don’t realize that the transfer of their belongings isn’t immediate.
The testator’s personal representative must step in, file the testator’s will with the probate court, pay their creditors and file their final tax return before ultimately distributing any assets to their beneficiaries. Various factors can slow this process down even when there are no major conflicts.
How can beneficiaries slow down the probate process?
One of the responsibilities a personal representative has when settling an estate is to reach out to each of the beneficiaries to notify them of the testator’s passing. They generally also need to send them documentation to sign and return. Locating valid addresses for beneficiaries and getting the necessary paperwork back can take some time, and that can ultimately delay the probate process.
How do tax filings delay the probate process?
Most personal representatives must file a testator’s taxes. Preparing a federal estate tax return, or Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 706, can take some time. The personal representative may also find it necessary to file estate or inheritance tax returns in each jurisdiction where a testator previously lived or owned property, thus also delaying the probate process.
What are some other factors that can slow down the probate process?
Testators who owned special collections and other hard-to-value assets such as mineral or intellectual property rights may also slow down a personal representative looking to settle a probate case quickly. They may need to liquidate these assets before filing taxes and then settle with creditors before ultimately distributing what’s left to beneficiaries.
How can I avoid a delayed probate process?
There are many benefits from working with a probate attorney. One of the most important reasons to do so is because they have significant experience in understanding legal documents such as wills and intimate knowledge of the probate process.
If you need assistance moving an estate through probate here in Las Vegas, the guidance from an experienced advocate can be invaluable.