Is there a time limit for a personal representative to distribute an estate?

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Is there a time limit for a personal representative to distribute an estate?

It has been over 1 1/2 years since the PR petitioned the court and received the appointment to disburse our mother’s possessions. It has been almost 3 years since she passed away. We’re afraid that since they have had all of our mother’s belongings, they may have been selling off the more expensive antiques, jewelry and dolls from an extensive collection since there is no apparent court oversight. When asked what is happening, she says “compiling an inventory catalog”. We need to know how much time she has; is there a set time for this?

Asked on February 26, 2012 under Estate Planning, Washington

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss and for the situation.  It sounds as if your Mother's estate may have been extensive.  Is that correct?  The more complicated the estate the more difficult it is to probate and the longer it will tke.  Creditors have to be notified, debts paid, estate taxes done, etc.  Generally speking, though, it should take abut a year in those circumstances.  So maybe you need to speak with an attorney about requesting that she file an accounting of estate assets. You can check the probate file yourself - it is a public record - to see what has been happening.  Good luck.


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