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How Long Does It Take to Get an Inheritance?

If someone has died, you may be wondering how long it takes for you to get your inheritance. There is no set answer to that question. The length of probate depends on several factors including the complexity of the estate, how busy the court system is, and how long it takes the executors to resolve the estate’s debts and sell assets.

Probate refers to the legal process of settling an estate after someone has died. Usually, beneficiaries only get access to their inheritance after probate. However, with inheritance advances, you can access some part of your inheritance before probate is finished.

The Probate Process

While probate varies from state-to-state, the basic probate process remains the same. First, someone petitions the court to open the probate process. The court then names someone as the executor or personal representative. This person is often named in the will, but the court can appoint someone if no one is named or if the named executor cannot serve.

The executor has several jobs. The executor collects debts owed to the estate, pays debts owed by the estate (including taxes), and gets valuations for property owned by the estate. The executor may also manage estate assets until probate is resolved, which can involve paying for upkeep on estate assets. It is only after the executor has handled the above tasks that they are able to distribute the rest of the assets to the heirs.

In addition, some things can delay the probate process. There may be questions about the validity of a will, or challenges to the will. The executor may have challenges collecting debts owed to the state. They could also challenge claims made against the estate. Potential heirs or other interested parties could also challenge the executor. Sometimes, the executor has to sell off estate assets to satisfy claims against the estate. Any of these issues can impact the length of probate.

Even if probate moves quickly, it usually lasts at least six months. The process can take much longer, and it is not unusual for it to take up to two years to settle an estate.

What do you do if you need your money before an estate can settle?

Consider an inheritance advance. Inheritance are cash advances against the amount you expect to inherit from an estate. They may also be known as probate loans or inheritance loans, but those names are inaccurate. They are not actually loans, but basically involve you selling a portion of your estate. In exchange for advancing you the money, the inheritance advance company charges a fee. Unlike a loan, which depends on interest, you know the full amount of the fee upfront, so that you have all the information you need for responsible financial planning.