The length of time it will take to settle a trust after the creator dies depends on the type of trust, whether the trust must go through the courts, and whether any creditors, heirs, or interested parties have raised legal claims that challenge the terms of the trust.
Factors That Can Affect the Time It Takes to Settle a Trust
If your loved one set up a living trust, all property and assets will be transferred immediately upon death to a successor trustee. On the other hand, if your loved one created a trust through a will (called a testamentary trust), the trust will have to go through probate before assets can be distributed to heirs.
Probate can take anywhere from a few months to several years. However, you may need to begin legal proceedings if delays have been caused by:
- Trustees. Many probate delays are unavoidable, but in some cases, it is the trustee who is holding up the process. If the trustee refuses to answer your questions, allow you to see the will or trust documents, or is otherwise acting unreasonably, you can request an accounting proceeding or petition to have the trustee removed.
- Beneficiaries. Disputes among family members, estranged relatives, and unexpected beneficiaries can cause problems during the settlement process. There may be disagreements about your loved one’s choice of trustee, or last-minute changes to the will that benefitted an unexpected person or charity.
- Errors or omissions. Problems with the language or designations in the trust may require court rulings to settle the matter. For example, if the will leaves funds or property to a person who has already passed away, or has not provided for a relative born after the will was created, the court may need to intervene.
How We Can Help
Our New York estate administration attorneys can assist you throughout all stages of trust administration, protecting you from those who are looking to unfairly inherit trust assets. Contact us today through our online form to learn more in your initial consultation.