Probate can be a long and complicated process, but it doesn’t have to be.
As experienced lawyers in Cardiff and the Barry area of South Wales, join us as we answer some general questions about probate and how long it can take.
Probate usually takes between 6 and 12 months to complete. This does depend on the type of estate, its size and also the jurisdiction where it takes place. If probate is disputed then it could take many months or years if the beneficiaries aren’t able to reach an agreement.
So we can understand a little more easily how long probate takes, we can discover more about probate and the types of processes it entails.
What is probate?
Probate is the legal process of settling an estate after someone dies. The process starts with the filing of an application with the probate registry and ends with the distribution of the estate to the beneficiaries.
Probate takes place in the court system, and typically takes between six and twelve months to complete.
The amount of time it takes to probate an estate can vary depending on the size and complexity of the estate, as well as the jurisdiction in which it is being probated.
Costs associated with probate can also vary but typically range from 1-5% of the value of the estate.
In some jurisdictions, there may be a time limit on how long after a person’s death an application for probate can be made. However, in most cases, there is no such time limit.
If you are involved in the probate process in Cardiff or the Barry area of South Wales, then an experienced probate lawyer can help guide you through the process and answer any questions you may have.
How probate works
Probate is the process of legally proving the Will of a deceased person, and distributing their assets to beneficiaries.
The first step is to file an application with the probate court where the deceased person lived. This starts the process and gives the executor or administrator (the person responsible for handling the estate) legal authority to act on behalf of the estate.
The next step is to give notice to all interested parties, including beneficiaries named in the Will, creditors, and others with a legal right to know about the death.
Once all interested parties have been notified, the executor or administrator will collect and inventory the assets of the estate.
After that, the executor or administrator will pay any debts and taxes owed by the estate, and distribute the remaining assets to the beneficiaries.
The entire process can take several months to a year or more, depending on the size and complexity of the estate.
Why probating a Will is important
Over 62,312 applications for probate grants during 2021 according to recent government figures, so it’s no surprise that this essential area of dealing with a deceased person’s estate is important.
Probating a Will is important because it gives the executor of the estate the legal authority to act on behalf of the deceased person.
This includes making sure that all debts and taxes are paid, and distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries.
How long does probate take?
If there are no disputes over the Will or the estate, the probate process will be considerably shorter.
In most cases, uncontested probates take between six and twelve months to complete. However, some simple estates may be able to be settled in as little as three months.
The time frame for probate can vary greatly, it all depends on the size and complexity of the estate, along with any disputes that might arise. In general, however, you can expect the process to take at least several months.
Here are a few of the factors which can affect how long probate takes.
- The time needed to locate and gather all of the assets
- The length of time it takes to pay off debts and taxes
- Dispute resolution time scales
Some other reasons which might affect the length of time probate takes are:
- Whether or not the Will is contested
- The speed at which the executor or administrator of the estate works
- The efficiency of the probate court in your jurisdiction
How long does contentious probate last?
If there are any disputes over the Will or the estate, this can lengthen the probate process considerably.
If the beneficiaries cannot come to an agreement, it could take months or even years to resolve the issue in court.
This is why it’s important to have a clear and concise will that leaves no room for interpretation.
Contentious probate can take anywhere from several months to many years.
How to speed up the probate process
If you are the executor of an estate, there are some things you can do to help speed up the probate process.
First, be sure to file all the required paperwork in a timely manner. The sooner you get the probate process started, the sooner it will be completed.
Secondly, keep good records and communicate regularly with the beneficiaries of the estate. Keeping everyone informed and up-to-date will help avoid any misunderstandings or delays.
Finally, if there are any disputes among the beneficiaries, try to resolve them quickly and amicably. The longer a dispute drags on, the longer the probate process will take.
What can I do if I’m not happy with the speed of the probate process?
If you are not happy with the speed of the probate process, you can contact the executor of the estate and express your concerns.
You can also contact a solicitor or the probate court if you have any questions or concerns.
Is there a time limit to apply for probate?
It is generally advisable to apply for probate soon after the death of the person in question, to avoid any complications or delays.
But it is worth knowing that there is no set time limit to apply for probate.
However, if you do not apply for probate within a reasonable period of time after the person’s death, beneficiaries may file a petition themselves or ask the court to remove you as executor or administrator.
What probate costs
Probate costs can vary widely, depending on the size and complexity of the estate.
In general, you can expect to pay anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand pounds in probate fees.
There are many factors that can affect the cost of probate including:
- The size and complexity of the estate
- Number of beneficiaries
- Length of time to settle the estate
- How many executors there are
- Whether or not there is a Will
- The location of the assets
- How much debt is owed by the deceased
Is it possible to avoid probate?
There are a few ways to avoid probate, such as setting up a living trust or transferring ownership of assets to a beneficiary.
However, in some cases, probate may still be necessary even if these measures are taken.
What are the consequences of avoiding probate?
There can be some consequences of avoiding probates, such as the beneficiaries not receiving their inheritance in a timely manner or the estate incurring additional costs.
Some other consequences of avoiding probate could be that the estate may not be able to settle debts or pay taxes owed.
If you have any questions about how long probate takes or how much it costs, our experienced probate, wills and trusts solicitors can help you to more easily understand the process and what to expect.
Our probate services help keep things simple, whether we have been appointed executors or whether we are acting for the next of kin
For a confidential discussion or to find out more, get in touch with our friendly team.