The duration of the probate process can last anywhere from 9 to 18 months. The time it takes to probate an estate is dependent upon whether a Will exists, the nature of the estate, and disputes over the estate. Creditors and Will contests by beneficiaries can cause lengthy delays in the probate process.
The process typically involves filing a petition with the Orphans Court, sending notices to heirs, appointing an Executor or Administrator, inventory and appraisal of the estate, payments to creditors, selling assets, filing the appropriate tax returns, and a final distribution and accounting of assets.
Some assets will not have to go through the probate process, such as co-owned property that was titled as joint tenants with right of survivorship, retirement accounts with designated beneficiaries, life insurance policies, POD bank accounts, and property in a living trust.