Highly Effective Criminal Defense, Real Estate And Estate Planning
Attorney Bryan E. Cameron

Why does probate take so long?

On Behalf of | Mar 1, 2022 | Estate Planning

In New York, the average probate takes around seven to nine months. More complex estates often take even longer than this. There are several factors that may make probate take longer than expected.

Mistakes during estate planning

If the decedent made a mistake during the estate planning process, this could make probate take longer. For a will to be valid in New York, the maker of the will must sign it, date it and acquire two witness signatures. Witnesses also need to provide their addresses underneath their signatures.

Conflict between the beneficiaries

Uncooperative beneficiaries slow down probate because the executor isn’t able to complete their tasks as quickly as they would if the beneficiaries weren’t fighting. The executor may have to go to court to receive legal permission for enforcement to continue with the process of dividing the estate.

Waiting on the IRS

The IRS takes a long time to process forms, and the executor can’t close the estate until the IRS approves any necessary tax forms. If the IRS rejects the form, then the executor needs to fix the mistake and wait again for confirmation.

Assets outside of New York

If the decedent had assets out of New York, then probate will take longer. The executor may have to go through probate processes in each state where there’s an asset.

Unusual assets

Likewise, unusual assets in the estate such as mineral rights, patents and collectibles add time to the probate process. They are more challenging to value than common assets like real estate. The executor may not value it in the same way the IRS does.

Receiving your inheritance may take a while, especially if the decedent had a high-value or complex estate. You should be aware that it could take a year or more before the executor is able to finish the probate process due to long wait times with the IRS and other potential issues that may arise.