How Long Do You Have to Probate a Will?

By Beverly Bird

How much time you have to submit a will for probate and to begin the probate process depends on the state in which the will is probated. Some states have strict laws while others have no time frames at all. However, there is usually no good reason to wait. The probate process becomes more difficult if you wait too long. Waiting can cause unnecessary additional court procedures later. Waiting also delays the transfer of title of assets from the deceased to her beneficiaries. Beneficiaries do not actually own their bequests until probate is completed.

How much time you have to submit a will for probate and to begin the probate process depends on the state in which the will is probated. Some states have strict laws while others have no time frames at all. However, there is usually no good reason to wait. The probate process becomes more difficult if you wait too long. Waiting can cause unnecessary additional court procedures later. Waiting also delays the transfer of title of assets from the deceased to her beneficiaries. Beneficiaries do not actually own their bequests until probate is completed.

No Time Limits

Many states, including Florida, Oregon and Virginia, have no statutes of limitation for probating a will. If family members continue to pay property taxes and don’t try to transfer deeds of real estate, the government may never realize that a death has occurred and that title to the deceased’s property has not been legally transferred through the probate process. You should check with an attorney in the state where the will needs to be probated, however, to make sure it is safe to handle the estate this way.

Protect your loved ones by a legally binding will. Make a Will Online Now

Four Years

Some states have a four-year limit for entering a will with the court for probate. This is the case in Texas. However, if you wait longer than four years in Texas, probate can still be accomplished. The procedure just becomes much more complicated.

Five Years

Alabama has a five-year statute of limitations for probating a will. However, anybody who purchases estate assets in good faith during the first year after the testator’s death, expecting probate to occur to clear title for the sale, might be awarded clear title anyway. The purchaser would not be penalized for the family’s failure to probate the deceased’s will.

Other Time Limitations

Many states, such as New Jersey, will not admit a will for probate too soon. In New Jersey, a will cannot be accepted for probate until 10 days have passed since the surrogate court clerk received it. States usually implement these kinds of restrictions to allow interested parties a window of time in which to contest a will.

Protect your loved ones by a legally binding will. Make a Will Online Now
What Does Probating a Will Mean?

References

Related articles

Can the Reading of a Will Be Done Two Years After Someone Has Died?

The official “reading of a will” is something that rarely occurs in real life. This isn’t to say that it never happens, but it’s usually not necessary and the law doesn’t require it. A more important consideration is when you submit the will for probate. Some states have deadlines, beyond which the process can become much more complicated, if not impossible.

What Does Probate for a Will Mean?

Probate is the process of transferring legal title to property from a person who has died to that person's heirs or beneficiaries. The probate process is supervised by a court and can include paying any taxes or debts that are owing, gathering and accounting for assets, determining the validity of a will, settling disputes over who is to inherit and distributing assets. The legal term for the probate process is testate proceedings.

Statute of Limitations for Processing a Will in Texas

There are different statutes of limitation for wills in Texas, depending on the issue. The state’s legislation also provides for exceptions to some statutes of limitation. In general, it is advisable to act sooner rather than later when processing a will to avoid the possibility of penalties and other complications.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help.

Related articles

How Long Does One Have to Probate a Will?

Probating a will involves court procedures to supervise the distribution of estate assets to the beneficiaries as ...

How Long Does an Executor of a Will Have to Settle an Estate in Nebraska?

Unfortunately for beneficiaries, executors usually don't have one certain deadline by which they must distribute ...

When to Probate a Will?

A will should be probated as soon as possible after the death of the person who made the will. However, most states ...

How Long Does It Take for a New Jersey Inheritance Settlement?

If someone names you as a beneficiary in a New Jersey will, plan on waiting a minimum of nine months before you receive ...

Browse by category