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What delays probate?

On Behalf of | Nov 14, 2022 | Probate

Probate is an important legal process that ensures the safe and orderly transfer of a Connecticut resident’s assets after they die. It can be a lengthy and complicated process, and there are several things that can delay its completion.

The deceased person did not have a will, or it wasn’t properly executed

Usually, if a person dies without a will, or “intestate”, their assets get distributed according to state law. This can take time as the court must first determine who’s entitled to what. If the deceased person did have a will, but it was not properly executed, which means that it was not witnessed or signed by the right people, the court may have to determine if it is valid. This can also add significant delays to the probate process.

The will is contested

If someone challenges the validity of the will, that can delay probate as well. The court may have to rule on whether or not the will is valid, which can take time. For instance, if someone claims that the deceased person was not of sound mind when they made the will or that they got coerced into signing it, the court may have to hear evidence and testimony to make a ruling.

There are unpaid debts or taxes

If the deceased person owed any money at the time of their death, that debt must get paid off before their assets can get distributed. This can delay probate as the executor may have to sell off some of the deceased person’s assets to pay the debts. In addition, if the deceased person owed any taxes, those must be paid before probate can be completed.

There is a disagreement among the beneficiaries

If the beneficiaries of the will cannot agree on how to distribute the assets, that can delay probate. The executor may have to mediate the disagreement, or if it cannot get resolved, the court may have to get involved. This can add significant time to the process.

While there is no guaranteed way to speed up the probate process, there are some things that can help. First, if the deceased person left a valid and properly executed will, that can help to avoid any delays caused by challenges to the will or disputes among beneficiaries. In addition, if the deceased person’s debts and taxes are paid off before their death, that can also help to avoid delays. Finally, if all of the beneficiaries are in agreement on how to distribute the assets, that can help to speed up the process as well.