If a loved one has passed away in Massachusetts and you are the executor of that person’s will, you may wonder how long the process will be to go through probate. Although there is no easy answer, larger estates generally take longer to settle than smaller ones.
What can complicate the probate process?
Even uncomplicated wills can take several months to settle in court. However, problems can occur when you have will contests; when at least one of the beneficiaries disagrees with the will’s terms, it can make the process take longer. Complicated cases can take years to process if someone challenges the will through a formal contest. When multiple contests are filed, the process can become long and drawn out because of the initial filing process along with any appeals that may occur. Creditors and service providers to whom the deceased owes money may also contest the will’s terms by filing claims.
The general probate process
Executors must notify all heirs about the terms of the will. In uncomplicated cases, this may only take a day, but if someone has moved, you must find them to provide the terms. The more heirs there are, the longer the process will take.
Protecting your interests
Some heirs, possibly including yourself, may have a valid claim regarding a will’s terms. The deceased person not being of sound mind is one reason to contest a will.
Several concerns, including lack of mental capacity, undue influence, or fraud, are valid reasons for contesting a will. While most wills take about seven months to go through probate, some can take years. If you believe there are valid concerns regarding the document, it may be in your best interest to explore them.