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Factors (beyond a contested will) that delay the probate process

On Behalf of | Aug 23, 2021 | Probate

Many Pennsylvania beneficiaries and executors come to find out that they have one thing in common when a testator dies. In many cases, this is their first time being involved in the probate process. Most of them don’t know what to expect.

If most people know something about the probate process, it’s that contested wills can drag it out. There are other reasons for probate delays that also extend long it takes to settle an estate.

Problems in communicating with beneficiaries delays probate

After filing a will with the probate court, one of the first responsibilities an executor must carry out is to reach out to the beneficiaries. The executor must find their current address and send documentation for them to sign then return. If there’s any delay in locating a beneficiary’s address or returning the paperwork, this can also slow the probate process.

Securing an assessment of rare assets can delay probate

Many people own collectibles that not just anyone can assign a value to. Finding the right appraiser to assess them can be challenging. You, as an executor, must then read the will to see if it calls for handing the asset between heirs or if you must liquidate it and split proceeds from the sale among them instead. The rarer a collectible is, the longer it is likely to take to liquidate it.

How filing tax returns can delay the probate process

Executors must also file a testator’s final tax return and pay any amount due. Gathering up what’s necessary to file the return, having someone prepare it and waiting on tax authorities to process it can all take some time, thus resulting in probate delays.

Can probate delays be minimized?

There are various steps people can take when estate planning to minimize potential probate delays. Many don’t take these measures, though. The best way to avoid unnecessary probate delays when administering an estate is to know your responsibilities and have experienced legal guidance.