If you have recently lost a loved one, you may be awaiting the finalization of the probate process. However, what happens if you receive notice that probate has been stalled or delayed? You may wonder what could cause such a delay. Here are a few of the most common reasons why probate might be paused in mid-process and what you need to know about them.
Unique Or High-Value Assets
In most cases, the estates that go through probate are fairly standard. You usually have a home, some investment funds or life insurance, and maybe some vehicles and other belongings. However, when unique or higher value assets are involved, it can slow the process down considerably.
For example, if your loved one had some high value collectibles, the collection must be assessed and appraised by a professional to ascertain its actual value before it can be included in the total value of the estate. This process can take time, both for finding an expert to appraise the collection as well as actually completing the appraisal.
Conflicts Or Disputes In The Will
If there are several beneficiaries named in the will, or if someone believes they are entitled to some of the estate but were not named, this can lead to individuals contesting the will. In those cases, the probate process must be stalled until a resolution can be determined.
Sometimes this resolution can be reached via mediation with the executor of the estate and a probate attorney, but in other cases, it may have to go to probate court and have a judge make the final ruling. Either way, it's in your best interest to work with a probate attorney during this process to protect your interests.
Whether something was named in the will as part of the estate, later sold, and the will was not updated, or someone connected to the deceased removed an asset from the property before probate was complete, any missing assets could lead to the probate process being stopped until that asset is located or its distribution verified.
This is why it is important to ensure that the deceased's property be locked and access restricted until probate has completed. Doing this will ensure that things are not removed from the property before the process finalizes, facilitating an easier, faster probate process.
For more information about the delays that you might experience during probate and what you can do to avoid them, contact a probate attorney near you today. He or she can walk you through the process and explain any issues you may encounter.