How Long Do Wills Take to Process?

How Long Do Wills Take to Process

Dying without a Will can lead to many issues, such as burdening your grieving family with added costs and leaving your assets to your next of kin (or to the government if you have no family members) rather than the persons you may wish to leave your estate to.

While neither of these are favourable outcomes, you may have questions regarding writing a Will and what happens next.

At Your Wills, we’re constantly asked how long it takes for an Estate to be finalised after death. To ensure you understand the procedure, our experts have outlined everything you need to know about the distribution of your Estate after death.

Read on to find out more.

The Administration of an Estate – How Long will it Usually Take?

On average, it will take the Executor (the legal personal representative) nine months to a year to finalise and administer an Estate. While this may seem like a long time, the duration of such a process depends on various factors, including:

  • The complexity of the Estate and the types of assets within it.
  • How readily the Executor can locate the beneficiaries under the Will (those who have been left something in the person’s Will).
  • Whether any legal claims have been or are likely to be made against the Estate.
  • Whether there is any dispute regarding the contents or validity of the Will.

Naturally, more complicated Estates will take longer to process.

What Can Delay the Process?

Many delays can occur during the administration of Estate processes. While these problems are more common in complex Wills, even the simplest Estates can become delayed.

Common causes of delays can include:

  • Complications in finding the original executed Will
  • Delays or difficulties obtaining a death certificate
  • Trouble locating beneficiaries
  • Instructions for distributions under the Will are unclear
  • Difficulty or delays in obtaining a grant of representation
  • Claims against the Estate for debts owing
  • Much more

Obtaining a grant of representation can be a complicated process in some instances and must be completed before the Estate can be administered to the beneficiaries.

Grant of Representation

A grant of representation gives an individual, the executor of the Will if there is one, the legal right to administer the estate of a person who has passed away. Where the deceased had a valid Will at the date of their death, this grant is called probate.

Probate is a critical legal step required before an Executor can administer a person’s Estate and distribute this to its beneficiaries. Simply, it refers to when the court issues a formal court document confirming that the Will is valid and the Executor has been validly appointed to administer the Estate.

However, applying for probate can also be a tricky task. This is because various challenges can arise in the process. For example, the person’s Will may be contested if someone believes that:

  • The deceased individual did not have the capacity to make the Will – therefore, they could not make their own decisions
  • The deceased individual was convinced to do something they usually wouldn’t by another person
  • The Will was not the last will and testament of the deceased individual

In addition, a grant of probate can be delayed due to problems with providing the original copy of the Will to the court, obtaining the consent of all executors to apply for probate, or difficulty determining the assets forming the Estate.

Applying for Probate? Be Efficient

To ensure the full process of administering the Estate is not delayed, you should apply for probate as soon as possible. The longer the Executor waits to obtain a grant of probate, the more debts that may be incurred against the Estate.

The amount of time it takes for an Estate to be administered will depend on individual cases. Therefore, it is important to be aware of potential delays that may arise and how to deal with them to ensure beneficiaries receive the appropriate assets in a reasonable time frame.

For more information on wills and the administration of Estates, contact our experts at Your Wills today.