Choosing an executor is a critical part of estate planning and one that requires time and thought. The person you select should have adequate availability to oversee the many responsibilities of the role.
As part of your effort to inform your executor, you may wonder how long it takes to close an estate. The answer varies depending on certain factors.
You have a lot of debt
Debts take considerable time to settle. Things become even more complicated when you are no longer around to clarify financial obligations. If you have considerable debts, you will want to include clear instructions in your plan regarding the settlement of each debt. Even more effective, try paying down as much debt as you can while you are still alive.
Your heirs disagree about things
Discord in your family can prolong probate. According to U.S. News, some probate cases stretch years before an amicable solution happens. If you know members of your family disagree about your strategy, it is imperative that you clarify as much as you can through conversation. Additionally, use your estate planning documents to clearly define your intentions and final wishes.
You forgot to update your plan
Another reason for prolonged probate is if you forgot to update planning documents. Even if you talked to someone about the updates you planned to make, if you overlooked the task of making it legally binding, the courts will reference your original document. This could complicate things for your surviving family and could also jeopardize the value of your estate to the people you care about.
Reducing the time it takes to close your estate is something you can influence right now. Taking adequate steps to plan and prepare could make a considerable difference in how efficiently things conclude at the time of your death.