If you are the responsible person for wrapping up the estate of a loved one who has passed away, there are some very important timelines to consider. One of those applies when the loved one had a Last Will and Testament. In those cases, you must act relatively quickly to open an estate and admit the will or else the Last Will and Testament will be invalid. Each state has its own timeline. Since we practice in Kansas and Missouri only, we’ll stick with those states. In Missouri, you have one year after the decedent’s death to admit a will to probate. On the Kansas side, though, that time limit is only 6 months. If the will fails to be admitted within those time periods, that will becomes invalid. At that point, the rules of intestate succession will determine who obtains the property of the estate. So, if you are named or believe that you are named as a beneficiary of a will, it is in your best interests to ensure that the will is admitted to probate promptly after the death of your loved one, particularly if you are not a person or entity who would inherit via the states intestate succession laws.
If the will is not admitted to probate timely, however, that does not mean that an estate cannot be opened for the decedent. We oftentimes get calls from family members whose loved ones passed away years ago. Each state has several different types of estate proceedings to deal with situations like those. The type of estate to be opened will depend on the type and amount of property involved – it literally is a case-by-case analysis. If you are in such a situation, please give us a call for a free consultation and we can discuss the best way to handle your particular case.