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What are some of the more common reasons for delays in the probate process?

| May 24, 2021 | Estate Planning & Probate

Many beneficiaries find it a jarring when their loved one passes and they must immediately deal with the probate process. They often find that it affects their ability to go through the grief process as thoroughly as they might need to.

The probate process can drag on even longer, though. There are some reasons this may occur.

Property in other states

One of the first responsibilities an executor has is to inventory all of a testator’s assets. Rounding up assets in other states and familiarizing yourself with each jurisdiction’s requirements to open a probate case can take time to do.

Problems with beneficiaries

The number of beneficiaries a testator has and the length of time it takes to locate them, send them necessary paperwork and get it back can also affect how long it takes to wrap up a probate case. Any potential will contests actions that beneficiaries or other interested parties may initiate may also delay handling the case.

Instances in which a testator owns rare assets

Estates are sure to take some time to settle if a testator owned collectibles or other rare assets. An executor might have to get these assets appraised and find buyers for them so that they can divide them if necessary to settle the estate.

How tax filing can slow the probate process down

An executor must file the testator’s final tax return. It may take time to do so if there are multiple states in which they lived or owned property. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may also take time to process the federal return that they receive.

Executor issues that may slow the probate process

An executor has a fiduciary duty to the testator and beneficiaries to act in their best interests. The latter can petition the court to remove an executor from their role if they fail to do this, resulting in another needing to be appointed and thus delaying the probate process.

Steps to take to ensure that the probate process proceeds smoothly

It can be challenging to navigate the probate process if you’ve never been a Minnesota executor. You might find it helpful to have an estate planning attorney help you through the probate process to help ensure that you don’t expose yourself to any unnecessary legal liability issues.