Understanding Probate Timelines
The first thing to consider when becoming involved in a probate is being aware of the probate court timelines. Most executors or administrators have full authority under the Independent Administration of Estates Act or IAEA. Occasionally an executor or administrator will have limited authority. Limited authority truly affects the timelines because the probate court must confirm any sale of the decedent’s home which can add an additional 30 days or more to the selling of the real estate process. For now, we will address the timelines as if you have full authority.
If the probate has no unusual situations, experience shows that the entire probate process can be concluded within approximately twelve months. That time period includes the four-month creditor claims period, as well as, the time needed once your attorney files a petition with the probate court. The hearing is usually within three or four weeks after the petition is filed. Again, your attorney will be informing you of specific timelines, including the important four-month period where any creditor claims would need to be addressed. Your attorney will handle the actual posting of the advertising for noticing any potential creditors in a local newspaper and that starts the timeline for the four-month creditor period. The real property, the home of the decedent, is typically sold during the probate period. This makes it important to have an experienced probate real estate advisor, like me, helping with preparing the property and getting it sold. The important thing to know is that once the home is sold, your attorney can then start the final process of settling the estate.
There are certain timelines for the actual probate including the time that you have been given by the probate court to represent the estate. That period of time will be noted on your Letters of Administration.
Your Letters of Administration, sometimes referred to as Letters of Testamentary, will have the expiration date of your appointment as executor or administrator, typically the time allotted is 18 months. The time before the expiration date is the period of time that the estate should be addressed and this includes the selling of the decedents home. Most executors and administrators handle all the details, including the sale of the decedent’s home well-within that 18 month period. It’s important to know that if your letters of administration do expire, your attorney will need to go back to the probate court and request an extension of time. This of course will take more time and cause additional expense to the estate.
The good news is that, in my experience, it is a rare occurrence that my executor or administrator clients are unable to complete the handling of the estate including personal property distribution and the sale of the decedent s home within that 18 month period.
It’s never too soon to contact me to talk about your options and the steps that will need to be taken. Feel comfortable calling me at 619-741-0111.