If you have been named in a loved one’s will, you may be wondering how long it will be before you will receive your inheritance. The answer varies widely, largely because every estate takes a certain amount of time to go through the probate process. Depending on the type of estate, New York probate takes anywhere from a few months to three years, with an average time of 15 months.
Problems That Cause Unexpected Probate Delays
The first step in starting probate is to affirm the executor appointed in the will. If you have been named as the executor of a New York Estate, you will have to prepare and sign the appropriate court documents and submit them to the court for processing. Just getting the authority you need to close the estate can take four weeks or more, depending on the court’s schedule.
Some common factors that can lengthen the probate process include:
- Family delays. You need to collect signed and notarized documents from a number of heirs, distant relatives, and family members. Even if the parties are willing to help, it can be a struggle to get the paperwork back from them in a timely manner—and a disinherited relative may be unwilling to help at all.
- Court delays. Courts typically take a few weeks to process court papers, but small hiccups along the way can add weeks or even months. Paperwork can get lost in the mail, misfiled, sent to the wrong address, or need additional information from you before the documents can be approved.
- Creditor claim period. You will have to wait seven months from the date of your court appointment as executor before closing the estate to allow any unknown creditors to make claims against the estate.
- Investigations. You may have to track down missing information or distant relatives in the course of closing the estate. If these cannot be located, a court-appointed Public Administrator will need to confirm your efforts and complete a report to send back to the court.
- Will contests. If an interested party contests the will or makes a claim against the estate, the estate could spend years in litigation.
The experienced New York estate administration attorneys at Landskind & Ricaforte Law Group, P.C. can anticipate potential delays, find out what’s causing the holdup in your probate, and follow up with agencies who may be dragging their feet. Contact us today through our online form to learn how we can help.