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Preparing for Will Execution After Death with Estate Planning

Butler Law Sept. 4, 2020

In South Carolina, after a loved one has died, there are many issues to consider. There are the personal and emotional ramifications following a death, but financial concerns must also be handled. This includes the execution of the will. It is important to understand this process, including how long it takes. 

Factors that Impact Will Execution

Several factors influence the amount of time it takes for a will to be executed. The will has instructions that the decedent decided upon when creating it. That includes how property will be distributed to beneficiaries and how outstanding debt will be paid. Depending on the size of the estate, it can take months for probate to be completed. The will is executed by filing it in probate court. To expedite the process, it is wise to file immediately after the testator has died. Filing in the proper location is important as a failure to do so can cause delays. It is also necessary to adhere to certain deadlines.

The will does not need to be filed by a specific person. Whoever has the will in his or her possession can file it for probate. In general, the executor does this. Once probate is complete, the assets will be distributed. It must first be inventoried listing the assets and then paying any outstanding debt. There are several considerations that dictate the length of time it takes to complete probate. For a smaller estate, it can take several months. With a large estate or if there is dispute that results in a will contest, it can take a year or more.

Legal Help for Estate Planning and Probate

Having a comprehensive estate plan is imperative for any type of estate. This can avoid disagreement, ensure the property is distributed as the testator wants and protect loved ones. A key aspect is understanding how long probate takes and whether it is possible to avoid it. For these and other issues related to estate law, consulting with legal professionals experienced in the entire process may be helpful.