Why Probate Takes So Long: Getting Started
Why does probate take so long? In New York, the probate process itself takes nine to eighteen months (longer if there are complications), with the help of a good probate attorney or professional executor. That time can easily double or triple without professional guidance. But many times, the problem is you just can’t seem to get started.
Many of our clients usually come to us either (1) within a few weeks after the Decedent’s passing, or (2) about a year later, after the family has grieved. But like many of our other clients, you may have waited years, maybe decades after the date of death. Why?
You Don’t Know Where to Begin
Do you start by calling a family meeting? Going to the court and trying to fill out the forms on your own? Or by organizing the mail and papers?
Steve was in this situation, and didn’t know what to do. His grandmother died over 15 years ago, then his mother passed away. Now the grandmother’s estate would be divided among Steve’s siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
He just didn’t have it in him to make all of those phone calls to all of those relatives: some were busy and hard to get a hold of, some lived overseas, and some were just plain difficult (hey, nobody’s family is perfect).
Steve tried going to court once, to show some initiative and try and jump start the process. And even though the court clerks were polite and tried to be helpful, they’re not allowed to give him legal advice.
Steve was being diligent about collecting the mail and other papers. But it was hard to keep track of it all on top of his own family’s bills. The mail pile seemed to be growing bigger and bigger.
Who Will Push Things Along?
Just like any other project, an estate needs someone who will be constantly pushing things along. Even if you are a master delegator, managing the lawyers, accountants, brokers, etc. is a lot to handle.
Oh and by the way, executors cannot delegate their duties by power of attorney, so whoever serves as executor does most of the work himself, personally.
If there’s no will that nominates the executor, which family member should fill this role? Unfortunately, the most responsible and trustworthy family members are usually too busy to want to accept these duties. But that kooky aunt that no one wants to put in charge? She’s completely available and eager to control the estate. Yikes!
Making Countless Decisions
Serving as executor also means making dozens of tough legal and tax decisions. Those decisions are even more sensitive and potentially stressful because they involve death, family, and money.
For every tough decision you make, you will be constantly second-guessed by your family, who you thought would be laid-back and go along with your decisions since you’re the one doing all the executor grunt work.
Who wouldn’t want to sign up for that job as soon as possible?
You Finally Decide to Get Started … and Then Real Life Steps In
Somehow, you’re ready to get started. And then real life kicks in. Sometimes it’s a new project at work that has you working late, a home repair issue, or your kid’s team making the playoffs and needing more attention. Bottom line, your family life is your first priority, the estate will still be there when you get back.
And before your know it, a decade has gone by. And what was once a simple estate has morphed into a complex multi-generation estate with family members who aren’t all that close to one other. And grandmother’s house now has serious issues with its title and tenants, making it that much harder to sell.
Hire a Professional to Get Started Now.
A good New York probate attorney or professional executor will get things moving immediately. At Anthony S. Park PLLC, we pride ourselves on taking complete control over the estate, so you don’t worry or stress any longer, and know that things are finally moving forward.
Remember Steve? He found us almost 20 years after his grandmother passed away. We worked closely with Steve to get everything started, including making contact with all the far-flung family members. We even arranged for someone to travel to the countryside of Panama to get an elderly aunt’s US notarized signature (she wasn’t physically able to to make the trip to the US Embassy).
Once we completed the court probates for the various estates, we worked with Steve to liquidate all the assets and pay all proper taxes. This was a bit complicated, since his grandmother had died so many years ago. But we got through it together, and we distributed the inheritance funds to all family members, including Steve, who was elated.
If you’re an heir to a New York estate where nothing has been done for years, don’t let any more time go to waste. Contact Anthony S. Park PLLC so we can discuss how to get your estate moving forward.