When a loved one passes away, his or her estate often goes through a court-managed process called probate or estate administration where the assets of the deceased are managed and distributed. Probate is often dictated by a valid will, but also applies when a person dies without having signed a valid will. The probate process involves validating a will and interpreting the intent and instructions contained with the will or following statutory dictates in the absence of a controlling will.
The time needed for the probate process depends on the size and complexity of the estate and the local rules and schedule of the probate court. As a general rule, it usually takes a year or so to complete, as creditors of an estate have up to one year after the date of death to come forward and state a claim. However, it can take much longer if there are disputes about the Will or if there are unusual circumstances, such as unique assets or debts.
If you find yourself in the role of Personal Representative (Executor) for a loved one’s estate, our experienced and caring staff is here to help you understand your role and responsibilities. We understand the emotional stresses of grief as well as the responsibilities assumed by the Personal Representative. We can guide you through the whole process, step by step, and help you avoid unnecessary delays.
Unfortunately, the administration of an estate or trust is not always a smooth one. Probate litigation involves the process of challenging a provision of the Last Will and Testament, a codicil to the Last Will and Testament, the appointment of the personal representative, or the entire contents of the Last Will and Testament.
Whether a particular matter involves an emotionally charged dispute between family members or a united front by family members to rescue assets from an outsider who may have tried to take advantage of a loved one, our experienced probate litigation attorneys help clients prioritize all of the difficult variables involved in probate litigation matters to enable them to pursue the course of action that best meets all of their interests.