What is the Probate Process?

Probate is a longer process, one that must follow the step by step requirements set by state law. Probate without a will lengthens the process, as do other parts such as the probate house sale process. The process typically takes between 12 months and two years, after the person’s death occurs.

Where It Starts – Probate Without a Will

If you are facing decisions such as whether you can sell a house in probate or when to disburse property owned by your deceased family member, it is always best to work closely with your attorney. However, there are some basic timelines that may apply. Remember that these timelines are determined by state law.

Preparing to File
The first step is to prepare to file a petition for probate. This is done in the weeks following a person’s death, generally around the 30-day mark. It takes one to four months to complete. It involves validating the will, choosing the estate administrator, executor, as well as a representative (if necessary). From here, the goal is to identify all of the potential heirs to the property and any relatives otherwise.

Court Hearings
After that period, the next few months will be when court hearings occur. It will be a hearing for the petition for probate. Also along this time is the need to submit any letters of administration or testamentary. Orders for probate along with the liabilities and duties associated with those who will present the deceased are also presented.

Notice to Creditors
Once the court agrees to the validity of the will (or the lack of one), it will then move forward with allowing creditors of the deceased to be notified of the death. This can take up to six months and gives them a year or so to file any claims they have against the estate.

Notice to the Department of Health
In the instances in which a person has received medical benefits, the court will issue a notice to the local Department of Health Services to allow them to process the filing.
6 to 12 Months
In the next six to 12 months, there is a need to inventory the estate and to appraise any valuable of it. The goal here is to determine the value. This is when questions about whether you can sell a probate house come into play. Also, during this time, the executor must continue to make payments on the property as required by the court. Claims by creditors are accepted or denied and a tax clearance letter is obtained.
16 Months
Around the 16 month mark, a hearing on the petition of the final distribution and accounting is done. Distribution of assets to heirs then occurs. You can sell a probate house and property at this time. You can also move forward if you were not allowed to before with property sales. Selling a house before probate may no longer be an issue at this time. Most importantly, during this time, heirs must still maintain the home and must consider the long-term outcome of ownership or sale of the property.

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