How fast can you get through probate?

On Behalf of | Jul 10, 2023 | Probate

With someone dies, their estate will usually have to go through a process called probate. This process is intended to make sure that your final debts are paid (if possible) and make sure that your remaining assets are properly distributed. 

Probate can take several months – anywhere between a year to a year and a half. The length of probate often depends on the complexity of your estate and the assets listed in your will. Probate could also lengthen if your beneficiaries dispute the validation or clarity of your will or had issues with the assets allocated to them.

Is there any way to accelerate the probate process?

People may try to speed up probate or avoid it altogether by forgoing a will, which is called dying “intestate.” Dying intestate could, however, take longer and cost more than other methods since the state would still have to handle the estate distribution process — only without any insight or direction from you. In other words, if you want your estate to be settled quickly, it’s better to have a will or explore other ways to avoid probate.

You could, for instance, reduce the amount of your estate by making gifts to your heirs during your lifetime. Having a smaller estate may make it easier for an estate to be distributed. Or, probate may be sped up if your will includes very clear-cut intentions without any ambiguity as to where assets should go. Trusts, too, are often used to bypass probate, so that’s another avenue to consider.

Probate is a process that may not be totally avoidable, but you can minimize its impact on your heirs with good estate planning.