The death of a loved one is even more challenging if they chose you as their personal representative. If they made a will, it needs to pass through probate before you can distribute assets.
What can slow the probate process?
Probate is a legal check to ensure all is in order and allow anyone with a claim on assets to speak up. Here are four things that may delay it:
1. Understanding what you need to do: Probating a will for the first time will be a learning experience. You will need to spend time reading what you must do and how it all works.
2. Mistakes: Errors are typical when you do anything for the first time. These can delay the probate process. Redoing things will take up more of your time, and it may add to the cost the estate incurs.
3. Challenges to the will: Most wills pass through probate without anyone challenging them. Yet, when someone does, it will delay the process. As part of your role, you need to let specific people know the person has died. You also need to publish a notice of death in certain places. Creditors who claim the deceased has unpaid debts could appear. People who allege they are children of the deceased could also pop up to claim their inheritance.
4. Challenges to you as a personal representative: Those who benefit from the will may seek to have you removed if they are unhappy for any reason.
These potential difficulties show why many people seek legal help to probate a will. Experience will speed up the process, reduce errors and reduce the chance of a challenge.