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What can cause delays with settling an estate?

Some people in New York are under the impression that having estate plans can help them to speed up the probate process. While it is possible for some estates to be probated without the court’s intervention, it is necessary for probate court to review and approve of certain types of plans and preside over all disputes. Also, people who do not have plans in effect at the time of their deaths must have their assets pass through probate court. 

The probate process is not always a fast and timely one. There are many things that can cause delays and draw out the time it takes to settle an estate. Here are some common reasons that increase the time it takes to probate an estate. 

Estate taxes 

There are many ways to set up an estate to minimize the amount of taxes that is owed on it. However, when a deceased person’s estate has assets that total more than $5.25 million, it is subject to federal tax, states Nerdwallet.com. The estate executor or administrator must file a tax return which can add several months onto the length of time it takes to settle it. Before the executor can pay off the deceased’s creditors and execute their last instructions, they must wait for the IRS to finish processing the return for that estate. 

Multiple beneficiaries 

The executor must find and contact all estate beneficiaries. When there are multiple beneficiaries, it can take the executor longer to perform this task. They must get them to complete paperwork before they can disperse any inheritances. It is not always easy locating beneficiaries, especially if they live in other states and countries. 

Bickering beneficiaries 

When family members of the testator and their beneficiaries are arguing and fighting with each other about the estate, their actions can lead to legal disputes that contest the validity of the will/estate plans and tie up the administration process considerably. If they cannot work out their differences, the executor will need to file motions with probate court so that they can complete their duties. 

No two estates are alike. The time it takes to probate estates varies due to many factors, including the ones listed above. Some issues are beyond the control of the estate representative. Other issues may be resolved with the help of an attorney.

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