Two Ways To Get Through Probate Faster

Posted on: 9 February 2018

One reason why heirs and beneficiaries hate the probate process is because it can take up to three years for them to see the proceeds from wills left behind by their deceased loved ones. Although there are a number of things people can do to minimize the risk of their estate going into probate before they die, there aren't many things heirs and beneficiaries can do to fast track the process after their loved one has died. However, here are two things you can try.

Pursue a Small Estate Shortcut

To reduce the load on the court system, a large number of states let estates of a certain size go through a simplified probate process that allows administrators to transfer property to beneficiaries using affidavits. Some estates may even be able to bypass the probate process altogether using this method, depending on its size and other factors.

To qualify for the simplified process, estates must usually be valued under a certain dollar amount that varies from state to state. For example, estates under $15,000 can use the simplified procedure to distribute assets in Michigan.

Sometimes estates that exceed the maximum value may still qualify in other ways. In Michigan, again, an estate can still qualify for the simplified probate if the estate's value after liens and debts have been accounted for is less than the combined value of the homestead allowance, family allowance, funeral and administrative expenses, and any exempt property.

Consulting with a probate attorney in your state is a good way to determine whether the estate your administering qualifies and if there's any way to get the estate to qualify if, at first glance, it appears it doesn't.

Do the Estate Taxes as Early as Possible

One thing that contributes to how long probate will last are tax-related issues. For instance, you are required to file a tax return for the estate (Form 706) with the IRS. It can take up to six months for the agency to review the form and respond, and you can expect things to take even longer if you have made a mistake on the form.

Unfortunately, the probate process cannot conclude without the taxes being accounted for. Thus, one way to shorten the amount of time the estate is in probate is to get the taxes done as soon as possible. It would be worth the expense to hire an accountant or tax expert to help with this particular issue, since the person can tell you which forms you need and help you avoid making mistakes that will stall the process.

For more tips on what you can do to shorten the probate process, contact a probate attorney or visit websites like for assistance.