If you’ve been lucky enough not to have someone close to you pass away in your adult years, you’re probably unfamiliar with how an estate is handled when it happens.
To get a basic understanding of how things work when you are a beneficiary of someone who passes away, check out these three frequently asked questions.
Will beneficiaries be notified of their inheritance?
If you’re not sure that the family will notify you of someone’s passing, you may wonder if you’ll be left out. On the contrary, it is usually the role of the personal representative (also called the executor) of a will to notify beneficiaries of the situation.
By law, you should be notified by at least three months after the will is accepted into the probate process. During the administration of estates, you will discover the amount you will inherit and have the option to challenge the will.
However, some smaller estates may be able to bypass probate, meaning there will not be any requirement as to when you’d have to be notified of it. But, these wills would be a matter of public record for you to view in case you have any disputes.
How do beneficiaries get their inheritance?
It is also the personal representative’s duty to compile assets for each beneficiary and arrange a time to give them away as part of the probate process.
A personal representative can be appointed by the testator (the person who passed away) or designated by the beneficiaries. This person could be a family member, beneficiary, lawyer or bank.
When do beneficiaries get their inheritance?
The probate process can take as little as six months or over a year to finish, depending on the circumstances. High-asset estates and cases in which there are many disputes usually become lengthier.
What if I’m not getting what I expected?
If you’re don’t think an estate is being handled properly, it’s a good idea to bring up your concerns with an attorney. An estate planning lawyer can help you determine whether you should challenge the terms of a will and how to go about doing so.