When an estate passes through probate, it offers security, helping your family feel everything has been handled correctly as the deceased intended. Yet, some people prefer to avoid it because it can cause delays to the distribution of the estate.
How someone creates their estate plan can reduce or increase the chance their estate experiences probate delays. Yet, as the family of the deceased, you cannot go back and change things. All you can do is deal with what is in front of you.
3 things that can lead to probate delays
Here are three common reasons that probate may take longer than you hope:
- Beneficiaries: The more, the merrier does not apply when it comes to probating an estate. The more beneficiaries there are, the greater the risk of complications. It could be due to disagreement between them, or it could be down to simple logistics. Tracking down one person to get a signature can take time. Tracking down 10could take far longer, especially if some have moved out of state or overseas.
- The IRS: If the estate surpasses the federal estate tax exemption, you must pay federal estate tax. It currently only applies to estates worth over $11.7 million, yet there is talk the government will lower the exemption. Waiting until the IRS settles everything can take months.
- Multiple state involvement: Probate can be challenging enough when all the deceased’s assets are in one state. When they own assets in several states, the difference between laws from state to state can slow things down.
The other reason that probate can take longer than you expect is if the executor does not know what they are doing or is too busy to dedicate the time needed. That is why many families choose to bring in outside help to assist the executor and ensure probate is efficient.