After a loved one dies, having the responsibility to close his or her estate may fall to you. If your family member named you executor of the estate, you will have many duties to carry out in order to ensure that you address your loved one's wishes appropriately and that any outstanding personal and financial issues get resolved as necessary. In order to begin carrying out the necessary tasks, you will need to go through the probate process.
Probate allows the court to validate your family member's will and ensure that the actions taken with the estate coincide with what needs to happen. Of course, in some instances, the probate process can take a considerable amount of time, and certain factors could contribute to drawn-out proceedings.
If the deceased individual named several beneficiaries in his or her will, probating the estate will take longer. The reason behind this aspect remains relatively simple in that it will prove more time-consuming for you to contact each beneficiary in order to inform him or her about the inheritances, the wishes of the will and the conducting of the probate administration. Additionally, these individuals will also need to take certain actions, and if they do not act in a timely fashion, the probate process will continue.
Furthermore, if the beneficiaries do not get along or feel cheated out of an inheritance by another person, their conflicts could cause probate administration to come to a slow grind. These parties may feel the need to contest aspects of the will, intentionally cause unnecessary problems or take other actions that could result in probate proceedings potentially taking years to complete.
If the estate consists of several uncommon assets -- such as race horses, oil rights or rare collectables -- probating the estate may also take longer. Because these assets do not always have a set liquidation value, determining the value of those assets may prove difficult, and if no one wants to take the property, the administration process may not finish until one properly addresses those assets.
As the executor, you may fear that the probate proceedings will result in tying up your life for years. While this possibility does exist, you may have the means to anticipate and take countermeasures for issues that could arise. By speaking with a Texas attorney, you may better understand the probate process and what particular concerns your loved one's estate may present.