How long does the probate process take?
Most South Carolina residents who own any type of asset know the importance of estate planning. However, even the most well-constructed estate plans still go through the probate process. The process varies in length depending on several factors, including what type of assets are in the estate.
The size of the estate
The size of the estate plays the largest role in the length of the probate process. Each asset owned by the estate requires specific paperwork and other considerations. Each state has its own unique laws that determine the overall value of the estate which heavily influences how long the process takes.
Is there a will?
The presence of a will typically expedites the process. A clear will states the deceased’s wishes for his or her assets, avoiding the potential for conflict. When someone dies without a will (or intestate), the local probate court must determine what to do with each asset.
Conflict among heirs
Estate plans that have multiple beneficiaries typically slow down probate. Even the smallest of disputes among heirs can slow down the process or even bring it to a complete stop. The process takes significantly longer if those beneficiaries choose litigation against the estate.
Is there a house involved?
While real estate allows people to create generational wealth for their heirs, the presence of a house in an estate plan almost always slows down the probate process. If the home gets sold to pay debts or to dissolve assets, the process can’t continue until the property sells.
In addition to these factors, other considerations impact how long probate takes. Notifying creditors, paying outstanding taxes and notifying insurance companies of the decedent’s passing takes time. Most average cases take somewhere between six and 12 months to settle.