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Did you know that the average probate process can last over a year?
Losing a loved one is a challenging time. But it can be extra stressful when you don’t understand the legal process surrounding inheritance and probate.
Read on the learn everything you need to know about probate and what can happens if you’re inheriting property.
What is Probate?
Probate is the legal process a will has to go through after a person has died. The process of probate covers everything from choosing the executor of the will to paying inheritance tax and settling debt.
You won’t officially inherit anything until the probate process is complete, even if you know something has been left to you.
1: A Grant of Probate
The first step in probate is to make the executor official. The executor is usually named in the will itself. This person (or people) handles ensuring the deceased person’s wishes are carried out.
The executor will have to file for this grant with the courts before anything else can happen. Anyone named in the will as an heir or a beneficiary will be notified of the filing.
2: Identify Assets and Debt
Once the executor has been appointed, they will identify and value everything the person owned or owed. This includes bank accounts, trusts, personal property, and pets. They will also have to check if the person owned any money, such as a mortgage, credit card debt, and funeral expenses.
3: Pay Debts and Tax
Once the entire estate has been valued, any debt must be paid first. This includes things like inheritance tax and loans.
This is where things can get complicated. If there isn’t enough money to pay all the debt and tax outright, the executor is responsible for selling assets until they can pay. This can include selling houses to pay inheritance tax and can cause a delay in the process.
To help make the process easier, some people put assets like houses in trust and then sell them to specialist buyers like brothersbuyhomes.com.
4: Settle Everything Else
Once the debts and tax have been sorted, the executor can finalize the probate process by carrying out all the requests and inheritance stated in the will. This means giving legal heirs and those with a claim their fair share and following any specific bequests named by the deceased.
Probate Process Complications
Of course, there are always complications. The probate process with a will is much easier than the probate process without a will. Where there is no will, a judge may act as the executor to make the probate court process as smooth as possible.
Other complications include selling property or real estate investments to pay taxes.
How Long Does Probate Take?
If everything goes smoothly, the whole probate court process should only take 6-10 months. However, larger estates, international assets, and objections to the will can cause the process to drag on for several years.
Making Probate As Easy As Possible
The probate process can be straightforward and fast. However, complications and objections can make it a challenging time. Understanding the legal steps is crucial, and preparing to sell a property, and other assets promptly can make everything smoother.
For more tips on how to increase the value of a property, check out our articles on renovation and restoration.