My Friend, The Attorney, Told Me Probate Is Easy! Justin Crain, Partner

My Friend, The Attorney, Told Me Probate Is Easy! Justin Crain, Partner

Some people say that probate is easy. The definition of easy is often based on perspective and experience. For example, a DMV employee might think it is easy to obtain or renew a driver’s license. However, over the past two years there have been numerous news stories highlighting the fact that in the DFW metro area DMV wait times are upwards of eight hours. For some, that may be easy – it is less than one, full 24-hour day beginning to end. For others, that may be seven and a half hours longer than expected. It is just a matter of perspective. So, when it comes to deciding whether probate is easy or not – the best approach is to tell you how long it takes and let you decide level of ease or difficulty.

So – how long does probate take? That is a great question for which it is difficult to give an exact answer because everyone is different, and every estate is different. To address the differences of each estate, there are at least 10 different types of probates:

·         Independent Administration

·         Muniment of Title

·         Proceedings to Declare Heirship

·         Small Estate

·         Administration with Dependent Executor

·         Administration with Will Annexed

·         Regular Dependent Administration

·         Independent Administration by Agreement: where a will was left by the decedent

·         Independent Administration by Agreement: where there is no will

·         Ancillary Probate of a Will Previously Probated Elsewhere

The length of time to complete a probate spans from months to years depending on the circumstances. One of the most common probate proceedings is the Independent Administration because this process is more convenient and less expensive than any other type of administration. Below is an overview of the major steps and associated time frames in which the process of Independent Administration can be completed:

·         Death of the Decedent (day 1)

·         Receive Death Certificate (2 weeks)

·         Find the Will and collect necessary estate information (varies – 1 to many days)

·         Meet with Attorney (varies – 1 to many days)

·         Prepare and file Application to Probate Will with an Independent Executor (varies – 1 to many days)

·         Post notice of the Application to Probate Will (10 day required minimum)

·         Schedule a Prove-up Hearing (average 6 to 12 weeks to get a court date)

·         Attend Prove-up Hearing (1 day)

·         Post notice to creditors in newspaper (3-5 days to publish and 90-day required notice period)

·         Provide newspaper publisher’s affidavit to court (3-5 days)

·         Notify secured creditors (varies – 2 to many days)

·         Prepare and file an inventory and list of claims against the estate (completed by the 91st day after letters testamentary received).

·         Meet all estate obligations and file notice of closing (varies – 1 to many days)

·         Begin closing “waiting period” (30 days minimum)

What all this means is that an Independent Administration will normally take about 191 days to complete from beginning to end. To answer the question of whether this is easy or not – that is up to you to decide.

To talk with Crain & Wooley about what some say is easy, schedule your complimentary consultation today. 

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