It’s essential to know how long does probate take if an individual has a significant amount of property or wealth under their name. The passing of a loved one, without a doubt, is a very emotional and hard time for a family. However, the complicated process involved to deal with a person’s estate will largely depend on whether the individual had a Will or not.
Probate is a legal and financial process that happens after the death of an individual’s assets. The time it takes to process probates can vary in Australia, but the process can be time-consuming and involves paperwork nonetheless. In this article, we’ll be discussing how long does probate take and the factors which can influence the time it takes.
Why Probate Is Important
The process can be fairly simple as not all property is required to pass through probate. A certain amount of property can be dealt with and broken down without the need for probate. If there are any significant properties that are left, there are simplified procedures that can efficiently transfer properties to the intended or desired beneficiary.
Knowing how long does probate take can be especially helpful in cases where the deceased owns a significant amount of assets, wealth, and properties. These things can be even contested by interested parties especially when they’re of great value, while individuals with fewer properties can be processed quickly with ease.
How Long Does Probate Take In Australia?
The process of probate can be lengthy but is generally dependent on a solicitor’s expertise. In Australia, the process of probate varies between states, therefore this makes probate a case by case situation. This means that it is difficult to determine how long does probate take in Australia.
In all cases, an executor is named in the deceased’s will. The executor is responsible for gathering and submitting the necessary documents required to start and finalise a probate process. If there is no Will or executor named, a family member or an individual appointed by the family of the deceased may serve as an executor.
The court, however, must determine that the appointed person is suited for the task with these conditions:
- The appointed person must administer the deceased’s estate upon their death;
- The appointed person has a duty to carry out the wishes of the deceased person, which is based on the conditions of the Will or trust documents on the beneficiaries that will receive the assets;
- The appointed person must realise that this is a great responsibility where potential difficulties and complications may arise;
- The appointed person must ensure that all of the debts and taxes are paid off.
People may think that being an executor will take years before they have to do any work, but it is better that an executor should be prepared when tackling these kinds of cases.
Factors Which Delay The Process
In understanding how long does probate take, it is also essential to consider certain factors which delay the process. Given below are a few factors which may delay the process of obtaining probate as an executor:
1. Finding the Will
Before an executor can apply for probate, they need to find the will of the deceased. If the death was sudden and the executor was never informed of it, they’ll need to locate the person’s lawyer and contact them about the deceased’s personal affairs and documents.
2. Determining assets
This depends on the estate’s size, its assets, and beneficiaries, as the time to organise these may vary.
3. Death certificates
This is an official document that signifies the passing away of a person. The time it takes to receive this document may vary depending on how the death was registered and obtaining it may last up to several weeks.
4. Application processes
The probate process requires several documents for it to move forward. Missing a step like incorrectly submitting information and documents may cause delays in distributing the assets to the beneficiaries.
When a parent has more than one child, they often name the rest of their children as co-executors. This is to prevent favouritism and this arrangement may not work as properly as intended. Some children may be out of the country making it difficult to handle activities such as securing assets.
Some children may also lack the financial capability when knowing how long does probate take, let alone understanding how accounting and tax work in probate. Having multiple executors also adds to the paperwork needed for the probate to be processed.
6. Disputes with the beneficiaries/heirs
As the executor, it is their job to secure assets of the estate and distribute them according to the conditions of the deceased person’s will. Heirs may give leeway to an executor in making disbursements to heirs like distributing property, money, and selling property.
7. Time Invested
With all the documents needed for an executor to produce for probate, it will cost them a lot of their time as they go to various government agencies for the needed documents.
Legal Advice For Dealing With Probate
Knowing how long does probate take and tackling it alone is a difficult task. In many cases like in smaller estates, executors are asked to waive any payments for their efforts. Disputes with families may arise and an individual may get entangled with the heirs/beneficiaries disputes for the assets.
That’s why at JB Solicitors, our experts on Wills and Estate Planning are here to to assist you in your legal concerns. Planning ahead in protecting one’s assets and distributing them properly is critical to our clients.
Contact us today.