How Long Does The Probate Process Take? [Probate Q&A Video Series]

Posted by: Adair M. Buckner

When a loved one passes away with or without a Will, probate is often required to ensure his or her estate passes to the correct legal heirs. A widely-held belief about probate is that it is long and expensive. While that occasionally is true, That is often not the case. How long it will take and how much it will cost depend on a number of factors. In most cases, it is not a lengthy or horribly expensive process.

In the blog and video below, I discuss the factors that affect the probate proceeding and what you can expect should probate be required for your loved one's estate.

Factors Affecting The Length Of The Probate Process

The probate timeline in Texas can be affected by a number of factors. The most common ones include:

  • How large or complex the estate is: If the estate is complicated and includes numerous assets such as real estate, stocks, bonds, and mineral assets, it may take more time to determine its value and distribute it through probate. Additionally, if the estate’s value is extremely large (many millions of dollars), it may fall into a tax bracket that requires specific documentation and settlements. Also, if there are substantial unpaid debts of the deceased, this will lengthen the process. In a normal, fairly simple estate, though, there is no need for the process to take more than a couple of months.

  • If someone contests the Will: Family members or loved ones might question the Will's validity, the fairness of its asset distribution, or whether someone else had undue influence over the deceased in drafting the Will. If someone decides to contest the Will, it will require additional court hearings, mediation, and the potential of a full trial. All of these will extend the probate timeline. Most Wills, however, contain a "no contest" clause that provides that anyone who challenges the Will forfeits their inheritance, so this is not likely to occur.

  • The court's caseload and judge's availability: Since COVID-19, Texas probate courts in larger cities have struggled to keep up with their heavy caseload. There may be a limited number of judges, judiciary changes, or detailed processes to handle the volume of cases in those courts, that affect how quickly probate can be completed. The waiting time just for the probate to be reached on the dockets of these courts can be several months.

  • Problems locating and determining legal heirs: In some cases, the beneficiaries of a Will can be hard to find. There are statutory requirements for notice to heirs under a Will which must be met to ensure all heirs are informed of the probate. Some heirs may be unresponsive or difficult to get in contact with. This can delay the process. Additionally, if there is no Will, determining who are the legitimate heirs can be complicated and their whereabouts may not be known. Texas laws of intestate (dying without a Will) inheritance can bring into the distribution family members who have had little or no contact with the deceased in many years.

How Long Does Probate Typically Take?

For a typical, simple estate, the probate process usually takes one or two months to complete. In Texas, if there are no outstanding debts of the estate, other than a lien on real estate, the shortcut muniment of title probate can be concluded within a few weeks in all but the busiest large city probate courts. However, for a more complicated estate, it may be a year or more before the probate process is finalized, especially if there is no Will.

Rumors that a probate can take many years to resolve are generally not true in Texas. It is a rare situation for that to happen—only on TV sitcoms involving very wealthy and contentious families.

Considering all the factors above, it is almost impossible to determine the exact timeline of the probate of your loved one's estate until you have consulted with an attorney. Don't wait a long time to schedule an appointment. The quicker you consult an attorney about probate, the easier and faster the process can be. See this blog to find out the best time to consult with an attorney about probating your loved one's estate.



Starting The Probate Process

Probate can seem overwhelming, particularly if you haven't been through the process before, or you are unaware of the complexities of your loved one's estate. Fortunately, a good probate attorney can explain and help guide you through the process, and ensure you're not left in the dark.


Need help navigating the probate process? Contact Adair M. Buckner using the button below to schedule a free initial consultation*.

Schedule A Free Consultation

*(The free consultation does not cover actual review of documents or giving legal advice on a specific situation.)

** This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, specific tax, legal, or accounting advice. We can only give specific advice upon consulting directly with you and reviewing your exact situation.


Mrs. Buckner did a full estate plan for me. Her work was excellent, her communication was great, and the price was reasonable. I would highly recommend her for your estate planning needs.

- Brad -

When my husband passed away, I contacted the attorney that we had used to prepare our wills but was unhappy with his attitude of indifference. I discovered Adair Buckner and all of my issues were resolved. Adair is professional, compassionate, and extremely knowledgeable. She saved me a large amount of money by processing my will in the appropriate manner to best suit my situation.

- Susan -

We appreciate Adair Buckner’s professional and personable service. Our legal needs were met promptly and succinctly. We would not hesitate (and do!) recommend her to our family and friends.

- Kristine -

Adair drew up a beautiful power of attorney and Will for my father in a timely manner. I highly recommend that you use her. She’s a wonderful lady.

- Hiram -

This was as painless as it gets to hire an attorney in Amarillo Texas. Handled all the estate needs and never had to appear in court. You won't find any better and I use Attorneys quite often in my line of work.

- AAA Land Records of Oklahoma Inc -

It was way past time to finally get our Wills completed. This was something that was extremely complicated for us, but Adair and her assistant never made us feel like we were bothering them...and we (I) bothered them...a lot! Things were explained to us in a way that we could understand easily. Extremely professional and knows her stuff!

- Darla -

I was meeting with a financial advisor who encouraged me to finish my Will. He offices next door to an Estate Attorney, and voila, 'one-stop shopping]! Adair and her assistant Pennye made completing my estate planning fun, easy, and pleasant. I wholeheartedly recommend Adair Buckner!!

- Margo -

Trying to get our LLC changed over after moving to Texas was complicated, but Adair Buckner made the process so simple! We just gave her the details, and she handled everything quickly and professionally. Thank you, Adair, for making this part of our move stress-free!

- Barbara -

Adair is very professional. She cares about her clients and explains everything very well. She makes you feel like a friend.

- LaDonna -

Losing my Mother and being appointed as Executor of her estate was overwhelming. Adair was very professional and personable. She handled and processed the estate with ease and kindness.

- Lydia -