When people know that a New York estate has to pass through probate court, they generally recognize that it will translate to a delay in the distribution of assets from the affected estate. Exactly how long people must wait to receive an inheritance will depend on numerous factors.
The size of the estate and type of property that someone has left behind when they died will play a role, as will the volume of cases currently moving through the probate courts. Factors outside of the control of individual beneficiaries or the executor tasked with estate administration may mean that family members must wait many months after someone dies before they ever receive their inherited property.
Probate usually takes more than half a year
Waiting for the courts to hear a case, securing and reviewing estate planning paperwork and even communicating with parties who have an interest in the estate can all be time-consuming endeavors. With rare exceptions for cases where there are undoubtedly sufficient resources to pay someone’s responsibilities while still allocating assets to their beneficiaries, the final distribution of resources will usually need to wait until after the representative of the estate has fulfilled most of their financial responsibilities. One of the most pressing issues will be whether or not they submitted appropriate notice to creditors and then paid them.
Creditors in New York may have up to seven months to make a claim against the estate, and therefore most estates will delay the distribution of assets for at least seven months to ensure that creditors receive what they deserve. That way, the personal representative or executor will not end up accountable for any unpaid balances still owed by the estate. If a beneficiary or a creditor initiates litigation against the estate or attempts to remove the representative from their role, that may serve to further delay the final settlement of the estate and could also potentially diminish the value of the estate, as its resources may need to help cover the costs generated by litigation.
When beneficiaries anticipating an inheritance from an estate understand the likely timeline for the distribution of those assets, they may have an easier time staying patient. Ultimately, knowing what to expect from the estate administration process can reduce the likelihood of disruptions that could damage relationships and diminish what someone inherits.