When you’re named as the executor of someone’s estate, you undoubtedly have many questions, and one of the biggest questions asked of wills, trusts & estate planning attorneys is how long probate takes. And the answer to that question is always the same: It depends.
Factors that Determine the Length of Estate Probate
To begin with, Minnesota law dictates that a petition to begin probate be filed within three years after the decedent’s death. From there, the amount of assets the decedent had, the amount of debt to be paid, and if there are any beneficiaries wishing to contest the will, all have a factor in determining how long probate takes.
If the estate’s value is at least $5,430,000 in 2015 and $5,450,000 in 2016, a federal estate tax return must be filed, and this is done within the nine months following the death of the decedent. This is the gross value of the estate’s assets, which includes the value of real estate, trusts, cash, securities and other assets.
The executor of the estate must ensure that all outstanding monies and taxes due are paid before any assets can be distributed to beneficiaries. It is the executor’s job to do a thorough search for assets, including advertising in the local paper, and making sure there are not any bank accounts left open. Any valuable assets that aren’t subject to transferring to beneficiaries can be liquidated. If the estate tax return is audited, it could add a year onto the probate administration time-frame. Executors can’t distribute the assets until they’re released from the responsibility of estate taxes.
If you have questions regarding the administration of an estate, or would like to learn more about estate planning, contact us today.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Please contact attorney Kirk Anderson for an initial consultation.