How Long Does Probate Take? Short Answer: It Depends
Probate is the process of submitting a deceased person’s Last Will and Testament (“Will”) to a court in order for a judge to determine if the Will was properly signed and if it is valid. The Executor named in the Will does not have legal authority to act on behalf of the estate until the court has issued Letters Testamentary, which is the legal document issued by the court proving the Executor’s appointment once the probate process is complete.
In New York state, how long the probate process can take depends on varying factors, including:
- what county the Will is being probated in (some counties in NY have a greater backlog of estate filings than others);
- does the Will have any potential issues with it, such as the Will has been unstapled or written on;
- are there distant, unknown, hostile or disabled family members? (NY law requires that the court obtain jurisdiction over certain family members before the Will can be admitted to probate and the Executor receives the Letters Testamentary. Unfortunately, distant, unknown, hostile or disabled family members can interfere and often create significant delays with the probate process and therefore, hold up the estate administration.)
Completing the probate process can take anywhere from a few months to years, depending on various circumstances such as those discussed above.
If you are concerned about how long probate may take for your estate or the estate of a loved one, know that there are ways to leave your assets that can bypass probate and go to your loved ones in a faster and smoother manner. We are experienced in such matters and can help with achieving this goal.
The information provided herein does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available here are for general informational purposes only.