File the will with probate court
Unfortunately for the executor of the will, filing a will with the probate court is typically not as simple as dropping off a will at the courthouse. This is when an attorney who is familiar with the probate process can be helpful. An estate’s attorney will often handle this step for you. He or she may also pay the filing fee charged by the court, and be reimbursed for it later in the process. It is important to talk with the estate’s attorney to determine your executor role and the attorney’s role in the process.
Even if you don’t have an attorney yet, look on the probate court’s website or make a quick call or visit to the court’s office to see what you may need to do. Generally, a legal form or document must accompany the will to file it properly. Most courts also charge a fee to file the will. Remember, you should keep track of this fee because the estate will reimburse you.
How long does the probate process take?
Whether you are the beneficiary of a will or the executor, you have likely asked yourself, “how long does probate take?” The answer, unfortunately, is—it depends. Many factors come into play including how valuable the estate is, how organized the estate paperwork is, how the will specifies to distribute items in the estate, debts and liabilities of the estate, what types of assets are in the estate, identity of and ease of locating beneficiaries, litigation involving the estate, and many more.
The first thing to understand is the definition of probate. The probate definition can be found in our glossary along with other helpful definitions. Simply put, probate is the process of filing a will with the court so the process of closing the decedent’s estate can begin.
If everything goes smoothly, the answer of how long does probate take can be a matter of 6-9 months, but for a more complex estate, the answer can be a year or more. Look through the steps on this site to understand more about what is involved in the probate process so you can better understand how long probate will take for the estate in question. Regardless of your potential desire to speed the process along, patience will be required by the executor and all beneficiaries in the probate process.