How soon must you open an estate when someone dies?
There is no law that requires probate to start within a certain time after someone dies.
Attorney Tom Olsen: When somebody passes away, there's no law that says that you have to do their estate, open their estate, take care of business in a week, a month, a year. You can do it whenever you want to. Now, Greg, I'm assuming that you're the sole beneficiary of your wife, and first of all, most married couples own everything jointly, so that when she passed away, everything would have automatically gone to you, but if she passed away with an asset and her name only and you're the sole beneficiary of her estate, hey, if you want to wait a month, a year to get that asset into your name, you're certainly welcome to.
Now, if you are the executor of an estate and there's five beneficiaries, well, of course, those five beneficiaries want to get their money as soon as possible, and it would be your job as the executor to start taking care of business as soon as possible. Again, there's no law that says an executor, a personal representative, you got to start within a week or a month, but hey, you were assigned to do that job, to do it diligently, and timely, and that's what the beneficiaries are expecting of you, so yes, that's what you want to do. Greg, if you need some assistance taking care of your wife's estate, feel free to give us a call next week at the Olson Law Group. We'd love to assist you.