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Does Probate Take a Long Time?

Mockaitis Law Group LLC Feb. 5, 2021

One of the main concerns many families have about probate is how long it can take. You may want your children to receive their inheritance as quickly as possible. The problem is that you cannot be sure how long a probate court needs to clear your estate.

According to U.S. News and World Report, the time probate can take will often vary. A simple estate should clear probate between seven months to a year. Some probates take even longer, perhaps two or more years. It depends upon certain factors, some of which may or may not apply in your case.

Creditor Claims

After your death, you may have outstanding debts that creditors will want to collect. Part of the reason for a probate timeline of several months is to give creditors adequate time to acquire money from your estate to cover your debts. Depending on how much you owe in debt and the complexity of the credit or loan terms you have, your estate may spend several months or over a year in probate while your creditors and your executor sort everything out.

Family Contests

Think about your current family situation. If your children enjoy harmonious relationships with each other, they are unlikely to contest your will. Conversely, if you have a son or daughter who resents a sibling, there could be a court fight that drags out probate if one of your children does not think a brother or sister should receive something valued or sentimental.


Take care that you do make out a will before your death. Your estate will go through probate no matter if you create a will or not, but if you have no will, you die intestate. The courts will pick an executor for you, who will distribute your assets according to state law. This can lengthen the probate process, plus a state-appointed executor may not distribute your estate as you wish.