How Long Does Probate Take?

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Are you preparing to settle an estate and have questions about the process? One of the most frequently asked questions I receive is “How Long Does Probate Take?” Buffalo Estate Planning Attorney Thomas F. Hewner created the following educational video to help explain the process. If you have questions about estate planning or probate matters, please contact us to schedule a consultation. We welcome the opportunity to serve you and your family.

  • Time limits are fluid, and the probate of a will can last a long time, especially if there are objections that can draw out the process – even, theoretically, up to a jury trial which, depending on the court’s calendar, could take a year or longer.
  • One useful aspect of a will is that the person you name as executor can obtain preliminary letters before the will is admitted to probate and administer the estate, collect the assets, and pay the bills. They cannot distribute assets, but they can deal with the estate.
  • Once preliminary letters are established, an estate must remain open for seven months to give creditors time to make claims. During that time, an executor can make distributions, but must be careful to ensure that money is available to cover claims filed later in the process.

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