A Bronx and Westchester estate attorney at Rogers & Rogers, Esq., is often asked how long an Executor can take to settle an estate. Although there are no time limits governing how long an Executor has to complete their work, if the Executor in your loved one’s estate is doing very little, either you or the court may move to force them to Account. If the Executor still fails to do their job the Court can have them removed and a new one appointed. You should generally expect an estate to be settled within one to three years, depending on how complex it is. After your loved one passes away, there are several steps that will occur in the probate process.
The Executor Is Appointed
The first step in the process is the person named as Executor must present the will to the court in order to have it authenticated. The Executor is normally named by your loved one in their will. In the event that your loved one’s Executor doesn’t submit the will to the court within a reasonable time after your loved one’s death, it is possible to have your attorney file a Petition to force the filing of the Will. If you believe that the Will is in a Safe Deposit Box your estate attorney can move the Court to allow entry to the box and force the filing of the Will.
Creditors Are Paid
The Executor will be required to notify all of the creditors to whom your loved one owed money. Those creditors then can make claims against your loved one’s estate in order to receive payment. These claims generally must be submitted to the estate within seven months or the creditor will not be able to collect the debt. The Executor cannot distribute any bequests made to you or to other beneficiaries before paying your loved one’s debts. If the Executor does so, the judge may make them liable for the debts that are owed. The Court will also order the Executor to file an Inventory of Assets within 7 months. It is very rare for estates to settle earlier than seven months after your loved one’s death for this reason.
Filing and Paying Taxes
The Executor will also be required to file the estate tax return for the estate. The returns should be filed within nine months after your loved one’s death. After the return is filed, your Executor then must wait for the IRS and New York State Department of Taxation and Finance to approve it and send a closing letter. This can take a while and is one reason settling an estate may be delayed.
Expedited Probate Voluntary Administration
In New York, small estates, with or without a Will that are valued at under $30,000 and where there is no real property such as a house or condo are allowed to go through an expedited process, called voluntary administration, which is much faster than the normal one. If, after a small estate is closed new assets are found, the Administrator will have to reopen it.
Contact a Bronx and Westchester Estate Attorney
If you believe the Executor of your loved one’s estate is doing nothing to settle it, or if you find yourself needing an attorney to handle the Probate or Administration of an estate you may need to get legal help. Call Rogers & Rogers, Esq., today at (718) 994-1640.