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Is probate taking too long?

If you are a beneficiary in a family member’s will, probate might feel frustrating. As far as you are concerned, the deceased’s wishes were crystal clear, so why is it taking so long to receive what they wanted you to have?

The first thing to remember is that probate is never instantaneous. The quickest it is ever likely to be is around half a year, in ideal circumstances. Many cases take closer to a year due to the workload involved. It can take much more than that if there are problems along the way. That is why many people take steps to avoid probate when estate planning. Here are two things that could slow probate:

1. The executor might have other things to do

The estate executor is unlikely to drop everything else and concentrate 24/7 on dealing with the estate and probate. They probably have a job to hold down and family to attend to. If this is the first time they have acted as an executor, they need to find out what they need to do, which can again take time.

If you believe the probate delays are down to the executor’s incompetence or lack of dedication to the job, you may be able to challenge them. Yet they may be overwhelmed by the role and need assistance rather than challenges.

2. Someone files a challenge

Specific people can file a challenge to a will. If anyone does, it could delay things considerably. If you think you have reason to do so, you need help to understand whether a court would consider your grounds valid and what the likely outcome would be.

While patience is essential, it is better to find out more now if you have doubts about the probate process.