From Our “Ask a Question” mailbag: “My Uncle died 4 months ago in Burlington County, New Jersey. I am in the Will. How long does it take to get an Inheritance?”
The time it takes to get an inheritance can vary widely between estates in New Jersey. Many factors that can impact a Personal Representative. The concern I have is that the Personal Representative is not adequately communicating his or her plan of action. An Executor or Personal Representative should clearly communicate to you an estimate of when you are receiving your inheritance.
That being said, the answer to your question, “How long does it take to get an inheritance”, will depend on several things. Some are within the executor’s power and some are not.
For example, you can only inherit something from your Uncle’s estate if his assets are greater than his debts. One of the executor’s jobs is to satisfy creditors. This takes time, and creditors have several months to make a claim. If the executor distributes to you your inheritance before satisfying the creditors, the executor could be liable. The creditors could make a claim against him. So, you can see where the executor will want to have time to discover all creditors before paying you. The IRS is a creditor who never goes away. Furthermore, the executor is responsible for filing and paying your Uncle’s last tax return. The executor may also wish to hold the estate funds until the IRS accepts the final income tax return.
How Long Does It Take to Get An Inheritance? In Part it Depends on the Estate’s Creditors.
Other factors can cause delays, such as preparing real estate for sale, problems with valuing assets and, the sale of a business. If your Uncle had a business the executor may need time to collect accounts receivable and to either sell or shut down the business.
Though many possible reasons can delay your inheritance, the problem is the Executor’s failure to clearly communicate with you. As a beneficiary, you are always free to hire a Probate Attorney to represent your interests. An experienced Probate Attorney can communicate with the Personal Representative and help explain to you your rights. If the Executor fails to give satisfactory responses, we can Petition the courts and obtain the information.
Contact our office for a free consultation if you have further questions about your rights as an heir or any other Probate questions.
Wills, Trusts and Probate, and Estate Litigation It’s All We Do!
Peter Klenk, Esq.