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What Can Cause Delays During Probate?

Posted on in Probate

What Can Cause Delays During Probate?Sorting through your loved one’s possessions is a necessary activity following their death. Most families go through the probate process, in which an executor will administer the estate plan of the deceased. You may have heard horror stories about the probate process taking years and leaving bitter divisions between family members. Some people structure their estate plans so that their beneficiaries will not have to go through probate. There are several complications that can delay the probate process and increase the costs associated with it:

  1. The Estate Plan Is Out-Of-Date or Incomplete: The probate process runs most efficiently when the instructions in the estate plan are clear and thorough. When significant assets are missing from the plan, the executor and beneficiaries need to determine what the deceased person likely intended to do with the assets. This can easily lead to disagreements that must be settled in probate court. The executor also must consider the value of the missing asset, how it affects the estate’s total value, and whether there are any tax consequences.
  2. Beneficiaries Contest the Plan: Even when the estate plan has clear instructions, the beneficiaries may dispute whether it is valid or legal. Someone may claim that the deceased was manipulated into modifying their estate plan to the benefit of one person. They could also say that there is a newer version of the estate plan that supersedes the original. Sometimes, a person is upset by the instructions in the estate plan and may start a legal battle that they have little chance of winning.
  3. The Executor Declines Their Responsibility: An estate plan will name an executor, but that does not mean that the person named will accept their role. The person may have never agreed to be the executor or changed their mind about it. You must name a new executor for the estate, and a court must approve that person.
  4. You Need to Assess the Property Values: The total value of the properties in the estate will determine whether the IRS will charge an estate tax. If the estate’s estimated value is close to the threshold that triggers the tax, you may need to assess the value of each property to determine whether the estate is above the threshold.

Contact a Crystal Lake, Illinois, Probate Attorney

The probate process can be long and emotionally charged. The best way to prepare yourself for challenges is by working with an experienced McHenry County probate lawyer at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC. To schedule a free consultation, call 815-338-3838.



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