Perhaps one of the most common questions we get when people start the probate process is, “Exactly how long is this going to take?” Unfortunately, the answer to this question is very specific to your case and often beyond the control of your attorney. And perhaps the biggest factor in determining when the estate can close is how soon you begin. Yes, it’s a well known fact that in order to complete the process, you first must actually begin the process.
Here are a few considerations:
Once you have opened the estate, you can expect it to remain open for a minimum of eight (8) months, most likely it will take closer to a year or longer from start to finish. Even the best attorney can’t complete it in less time as the law requires the estate be open that long in order for creditors to have time to make claims for any money they are owed by the decedent.
Here are a few more things to consider:
In closing, know that while good estate planning can eliminate many of the hassles of probate, nothing can change the court’s requirements for probating an estate. Only those who have no real property, no titles assets (cars, boats, mobile homes) and no personal property or assets that total above ten thousand (note: this amount was increased to $25,000 in 2014) can skip the formalities by using a process called a small estate, which will be the topic of a future post.
Important Note: Effective January 1, 2014 there were substantial changes in South Carolina’s Probate Code. While we’ve tried to update this blog, please note the date of blog posts and send us an email or call for a consult before relying on information written prior to January 1, 2014. We appreciate your understanding.
Russ DeMott says:
January 20, 2010 at 11:37 PMGreat post. Very helpful to those going through a difficult time after the passing of a loved one.