Probate can be a very long and tiring process. Usually, it takes a few months. But, the most complicated cases can go on even for years.
The amount of paperwork involved in such cases is astonishing. The main issue seems to be that the probate is, by definition, held in a court of law. As a consequence, the whole legal system gets involved in this process.
Legal systems are tricky. Everything is clear in theory, but one wrong turn and you will have to start all over again or wait for ages to get it done.
This is especially notable in the case of probate. Even without the last will, the probate court will open a case.
It’s better to learn about possible pitfalls at the very beginning of the process as it’s the only way to save yourself a headache. Here are the most prevalent probate issues and suggestions on how to deal with them:
Allegations Against Executor
The executor is a legal personal representative of the deceased. As the name suggests, he is responsible for executing the will. He has to manage all the assets mentioned in the last will since it is his fiduciary duty.
However, many problems may arise along the way. For example, the executor might not fill out the necessary forms or fail to probate the will. Unfortunately, he might even leave all the deceased’s assets for himself.
In order to get out of this situation, you need to first discuss possible issues with the executor. If he is unwilling to listen or stubbornly stands by his point of view, you should consider suing him.
If the executor failed to do his job or has acted inappropriately, you can then request some compensation. Filling a case might be enough for your executor to change his mind.
Executor Doesn’t Want to Act
Being the executor is no easy task. You are responsible for all the assets of the deceased. You are also responsible for the whole probate process going smoothly. In the worst-case scenario, you can face legal consequences if you fail to do either one of these things.
As you can understand, a lot of people don’t want to be executors due to the amount of paperwork and possible legal consequences. Your executor might also refuse to act. What to do in that case?
The best and easiest way is to find someone willing to take up this task amongst relatives. You might also consider asking your friends or a partner for help. Maybe the fact that the executor gets paid will change their attitude?
Arguments Between Beneficiaries
This is probably the most common problem in probate courts. Family members do not always get along with each other. And when the matter is so severe that it ends up in court, things can take a nasty turn.
Not willing to work together for the good of the assets is a prevalent problem. Other than that, beneficiaries might not want to fulfill the deceased’s will, which is yet another problem that needs to be solved.
It’s important to understand that administering the estate can be an emotional process for the executor of the will and all the interested sides. Some beneficiaries might be overwhelmed with their emotions and try to complicate the process. That’s why it’s so important to keep a level head and understand that everyone is going through a difficult time now.
Try not to escalate the conflict when it appears. Instead, focus on the task at hand. Only cooperation can yield the best results.
The Bottom Line
The English term “probate” comes from the Latin verb “probare”, which means “to try, test, prove, examine.” As this etymology suggests, the probate court is held to prove the will of the deceased.
But, the probate court is not only about the deceased and his heritage. It is also the test for all who might be involved in this process. Probate court should be interpreted as a great test of will and solidarity.
Now you should know what to expect from the probate court. Try to be supportive and remember to ask for help if you need it.