Waiting on an estate to settle can sometimes require a lot of patience. But what do you do when you feel like the executor is intentionally drawing out the process, or just not handling the estate business in a timely fashion? Some delays in an estate are to be expected, but how much is too much? How long can an executor take to settle an estate?
In this article, I want to give you an idea of what delays are normal and should be expected and which ones are cause for concern.
My name is Erik Broel & I am the founder & CEO of Georgia Probate Law Group. At our firm we help families who have lost a loved one navigate the complex and confusing legal process so they can make sure the estate is handled properly and their loved one’s memory is honored.
What Is The Normal Time Frame To Settle An Estate In Georgia?
So, how long can an executor take to settle an estate? Let’s look at the normal timeframe to settle an estate in Georgia.
When there are no disputes between family members, I would expect it to take an average of 12 to 18 months to handle an estate from the time the initial petition is filed to the time when the estate is formally closed.
There are some natural delays in handling an estate such as:
- Obtaining court permission to sell an asset.
- Selling a home.
- Having an estate sale.
- Handling creditor claims.
- Working with financial institutions to transfer accounts.
While these things are happening, I would expect the executor to provide status updates to the beneficiaries so everyone has an idea of the plan, and how things are going.
If the estate has been opened, but the estate’s business is not being handled, that is a cause for concern.
Especially if it has been more than a year and no forward progress has been made. It is also very concerning if the executor is unwilling or unable to provide a status update to beneficiaries.
Lack of progress or lack of communication are each red flags on their own.
When you have both, it is a cause for serious concern.
What Options Do You Have When An Executor Delays?
There are a number of options available to help get the estate moving again:
- Informal contact with the executor.
- A demand for accounting or distribution.
- Removing the executor and appointing someone else, along with other sanctions.
These situations are very complicated, and I don’t recommend you try to handle it on your own.
Everything discussed in this article is for general information and is not legal advice.
If you are in a situation where you feel like the executor is intentionally delaying the settling of the estate, I recommend you reach out to our office at (770) 920-6030 to set up a consultation.
If you’re not quite ready for a consultation, be sure to download our Georgia Probate Handbook so you know how the estate is supposed to be handled.