What Does Probate Mean for My Property?

The death of a family member or loved one can be very difficult, but when you end up with property stuck in probate, it just compounds the difficult time you are having. While probate can be straightforward, if it gets complicated, you may be left wondering what it means and what you should do next.

What is Probate?

Unless you have dealt with a family member’s estate before, you may not be familiar with the concept of probate. When someone passes away, all of their assets go into probate, and it follows a legal process for these assets to be distributed. This process can be pretty straightforward when there is a will, but if there isn’t a will or it is declared invalid, it goes to probate court to be distributed to the legal heirs, which are usually comprised of children, spouses, and parents. Unless jointly owned with a spouse or other living relative, the property will almost always end up in probate.

How Long Does Probate Last?

The unfortunate answer is that it will depend on the complexity of the estate. Probate cannot begin until after the funeral, and it can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. The larger the estate and the more beneficiaries there are, the longer it can take. Additionally, if someone decides to contest the will, it can add a substantial amount of time to the probate process. On the other hand, if you are dealing with a smaller estate, some states have a way to expedite the process. The lack of a will can also cause a huge delay, which is one of the reasons it is important for people to regularly update their will as they deal with life changes.

Can I Sell a Home During Probate

You can sell a home during the probate process, and many people actually prefer to do that. Real estate is one of the things most likely to cause disagreements over the will. Additionally, you may end up inheriting property in an area you don’t live in or that you can’t afford the upkeep. In this case, selling your home for cash is one of the best ways to simplify the probate process. Not only is it a quick process, but you also end up with the cash on hand to be split up among the beneficiaries of the estate.

While it can be challenging to deal with, probate doesn’t have to be a headache. Understanding more about the process will help you deal with any challenges that may come your way. It is a long road, but eventually, you will come out on the other side and the burden will be lifted.

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