Probate Timeline

  1. “What is the probate timeline?”  “How long does it take to sell a house through probate?” These are common questions asked by many executors of an estate.  Most executors know very little about the probate process.  For many this is usually the first time they have even thought about the process.  Let’s face it, the “probate timeline” is not usually top of mind or even a topic of conversation during our every day life.  Add this to the emotional strain an executor maybe experiencing during this very difficult time and it can easily become overwhelming.

If you are the executor of a will in New York, having a general idea of the probate timeline will be helpful.

In New York, the probate timeline is usually between 7-9 months.  This, of course, is dependent on the size of the estate and the type of assets that’s in the estate.  The county that has jurisdiction can also affect the probate timeline as some Surrogate courts issue Letters of Administration quicker than others.  In addition, timely submission of necessary documents by the executor or his/her legal representative will also affect the probate timeline.

Here is a general guideline for the probate timeline in New York.

Month 1 – 2

Gathering of paperwork which includes the will, the death certificate, bank statements and other legal documents.  During this time all known debtors should be contacted as well as banks, insurance carriers (including your homeowners insurance carrier), and the property tax department.  All potential beneficiaries are gathered and the will is read.  A probate petition is filed with the surrogate court in the county where the decedent was at the time of passing.   

A Certified Probate Real Estate Specialist should be contacted to assess and give a written valuation of the house.  Call: 631-357-4819.

This is important because the market value at the time of the decedent’s death will play a valuable role when it comes time to calculate how much tax the beneficiaries will owe when the house sells.

Month 2-4
Letters of  administration  is generally issued between month 2 and month 3 after filing.  Again, this is dependent on the Surrogate Court that has jurisdiction.  Letters Administration will give you the legal right to represent the estate.  You will now be able to sign the listing agreement to sell the house.  It is your fiduciary responsibility to hire professionals that will best represent the estate.   Hire a real estate agent who is certified to handle the sales of homes in probate.  Email:

During the upcoming months, the executor should closely monitor the mail for incoming bills of any outstanding debts that might not have been readily apparent and alert those debtors of the passing of the decedent.  Creditors have several months in which to respond in order to get the debt satisfied.

Month 4 – 6   

Valuation and sale of personal property as well as the sale of real estate to settle all outstanding debts.  Consult an accountant to prepare and file the necessary tax returns.

Month 7-9  

In New York State creditors have up to 7 months to file a claim against an estate.  During these final months, all debts should be satisfied by the proceeds of the estate before final distribution to the heirs.

Navigating the probate timeline can be trying and time consuming.  It is advisable to hire professionals experienced in the process to give you the assurance you will need to ensure you are fulfilling your fiduciary responsibility to the estate.

Get additional information on the probate time line at:


Inherited House

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