Time Limits Imposed For Probate

If you have recently found out that you are in charge of probating a will you were appointed executor of, you may wonder if you have to initiate probate within a certain amount of time. That is really dependent upon the state in which the will is to be probated. Some states have their have their own regulations when it comes to time limits for probating a will, and some wills don't even need to go through probate, unless there is the need to transfer ownership of the assets to the beneficiaries. This article will review the time limitations that some states pose, and when there may be exceptions to the rule.

Court Imposed Time Limits 

Just as with any other type of court, probate courts have time limits and deadlines that are in place to help keep the probate process moving along. Courts don't want the probate process to go on forever if there are no issues or other matter that arise that could prolong the process. There are also time limits in place to prevent harassment to the estate heirs and beneficiaries by the deceased's creditors.

Creditors can't start looking for their money five minutes after the deceased has passed away, but each state varies as far as their time limits for starting a proceeding to force the estate to pay off the deceased's debt.

Limits for Producing a Will 

Most states do impose some type of time limit that that heirs have to produce a will and to get the process started, but again those limits do vary from state to state.  Many states consider special circumstances when it comes to how long a family has to come forward with the will.

These states also consider special circumstances, such as a will being discovered long after the allotted time to probate a will has passed. Pennsylvania residents have 21 years to apply for probate before a court order is required to begin probate. This allows families who may not discover a will until much later on. Some states, however, only allow a few years to file for probate.

Other Time Limits 

There are some states that have reverse time limits. This means a will cannot be probated until after a certain amount of time has passed after the decedent's death.  

Also, there are states that allow for a creditor to apply for probate after a certain amount of time has passed, and no family member has come forward to probate the estate. However, if a family member does come forward to take over the estate, the creditor will not be allowed to administer the probate, but they are entitled to payment of any debts owed by the deceased. (For more information, contact Brandt & Beeson PC)