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How long does probate take?

On Behalf of | Dec 14, 2021 | Probate

Beneficiaries of an estate are usually anxious to obtain their shares of the inheritance. Fielding questions from these heirs doesn’t always make a Colorado executor’s job easy. One of the questions might be about how long the probate process will take, but there is no easy answer. Even when the estate is not complicated, legal steps have to be followed, and the process can just seem to drag on. 

Patience is a virtue 

Most anyone who is expecting an inheritance wants the process of getting it to be quick. But beneficiaries must have patience since courts need time to verify the identity of heirs, value the assets and pay any straggling debts. Probate can take months and even up to a year, but there are issues that add complications to the probate process that could extend the waiting time even more. 

Factors that could cause complications 

Important documents must be originally signed by the executor, and this can take time. There could also be an executor who lives outside the state, which complicates things even further. Other factors that could extend probate time include: 

  • If a loved one’s estate qualifies for federal estate taxes, probate cannot proceed until the IRS completes this step, which may take longer than eight months after the estate tax return is filed. 
  • Having too many beneficiaries makes it challenging to obtain signatures and reach agreements on vague stipulations in an estate plan. 
  • An heir who intends to contest the validity of the will can add months or years to the process. 
  • Complicated assets, such as fine art, intellectual property or a share in the family business, may require independent appraisal before probate can continue. 
  • A problematic or argumentative heir may create a dispute that brings probate to a halt. 
  • Heirs who hire their own attorneys may make it difficult for an executor to carry out duties without constant challenges. 

If an executor is fortunate to have a comprehensive estate to administer and the help of a Colorado attorney, he or she may be able to smoothly navigate the probate process. Such a process is likely to conclude in a timely manner. Additionally, an administrator who has some idea of what the probate process involves may be able to communicate more positively with beneficiaries.