When someone dies, their estate may need to go through probate court. Probate courts help ensure that creditors receive repayment and that those managing an estate follow the instructions provided by the testator.
Often, probate proceedings are straightforward because someone left behind an estate plan. Probate can be a bit more complex if someone died without a will, although a straightforward division of property may be possible under Texas intestate succession law.
Other times, things become more complex, possibly because of questions about the validity of the will or concerns about how the representative of an estate handles certain assets. If you have a probate issue which needs to go through court, how long will it usually take to resolve the matter in Texas?
Estate administration proceedings can sometimes be quick
The smaller someone’s estate is and the less contention among their loved ones about their wishes, the quicker the probate process could be. When someone has minimal assets and a will, it might take as little as three weeks for the estate to move through the probate court process as a small estate. The entire administration could take as little as six months.
However, if there are conflicts about the assets or if there is not a last will, probate proceedings might take much longer, possibly up to eight months and sometimes even longer. Probate hearings related to intestate estates or estates with a lot of valuable assets could take several months to complete, in addition to the estate administration steps that occur outside of court.
What about estate challenges?
When someone questions whether a will is fraudulent or asserts that the representative of the estate has failed in their fiduciary duty to beneficiaries, the entire estate might get dragged into probate proceedings.
How long it takes to resolve the matter will depend on the volume of cases going up before the courts and the amount of evidence that either side intends to present. However, you should expect that challenges and the hearings they necessitate will drastically increase the length of time it takes an estate to pass through probate court.
Whether you are an executor or a beneficiary of an estate, you will have to wait for the probate courts to take action. Having realistic expectations regarding the timeline for probate proceedings can help you better prepare for the process of managing or challenging an estate.