The length of a probate varies according to state law. According to the State Bar of Wisconsin, the probate process can take up to two years or longer, depending on the size and specifics of the estate.
In Wisconsin, creditors have three months to file claims against the estate, and estate tax returns are due nine months after the death of the decedent. State law requires for estates to be closed within 18 months, and extensions can be granted.
The Ohio State Bar Association explains that probate is necessary in order to give the executor of the state the authority to disperse the assets of the decedent’s estate properly as well as pay any outstanding monies owed on taxes and to creditors. Small estates that do not have outstanding debts or tax obligations can be closed within six months, but larger estates or estates that are required to file federal estate tax returns can take longer than a year to close.
According to the Lucas County Probate Court in Ohio, if a tax audit occurs on a federal estate tax return, probate administration often takes an additional year to complete. Executors or administrators can't distribute assets until they're legally released from personal responsibility of estate taxes. Claims against estates can be made up to six months following a decedent's death.