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How Long Do You Have to File Probate After Death?

Dealing with the death of a loved one has its own share of struggles emotionally. Unfortunately, there are also monetary things to worry about such as the probate process. This process ensures the deceased’s assets go to the proper people. Additionally, it ensures that any taxes or liens owed to the state or other parties are paid in full. You may have many questions. How long after death do you have to file probate? What are some issues I may run into during the probate process? We’ll answer these questions and some others in this post.

What is Probate?

The probate process is a court-supervised procedure of administering a deceased person’s estate. It involves authenticating a will, paying off debts, and distributing assets to beneficiaries.

If the deceased person dies without a will, the court must follow state intestacy laws to distribute the person’s assets. Each state has its own laws when it comes to determining how property will be distributed. This generally depends on who survives the decedent and usually goes in order by classes of heirs, such as the surviving spouse, descendants, parents, descendants of decedent's parents, and descendants of grandparents.

However, if the person does have a will, the court will determine if it is valid and authentic. The court then appoints a personal representative, who will then administer the estate.

How Long Do I Have to Start Probate After Death?

Grief is never a straight line and if you’re of the mind of wanting to get all paperwork and stress out of the way so you can have time to grieve, you can’t move so fast. So how long do you have to start probate after someone’s death? In New Jersey, you must wait at least 10 days after the individual’s death to probate a will. Check your state’s laws for more information. The executor must bring the original will, a certified copy of the death certificate, a list of the names and addresses of the deceased’s next of kin, and a checkbook to pay various fees.

How Long After Death Can You File Probate?

Sometimes, grief can consume you too much and you want to wait a little while before taking over affairs. So how long do you have to file probate after death? There is no time limit for when you can apply for probate after someone’s death. However, it is generally expected to file a probate in a timely manner to allow for issues in locating a will or other delays.

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What Can Delay the Probate Process?

The probate process can be long and drawn out due to numerous factors. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you navigate this procedure.

  • The wrong executor gets selected.

  • Estates have more than two or three beneficiaries.

  • Beneficiaries live far away from each other.

  • Estates have assets in multiple states.

  • Estates have to file estate tax returns.

  • Estates have unusual assets, such as rare collectibles, racehorses, and patents.

  • Beneficiaries don’t get along.

  • There are too many wills.

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