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Whether you are an executor, beneficiary or heir to the estate of a Tennessee resident, you may wonder how long the process will take. When a probate goes smoothly, it can take months or longer depending on the circumstances. However, there are several issues that could arise that could put a halt to the proceedings and extend the time it takes to wrap matters up.

One of the first issues most people have heard of is a will contest in which someone suspects that the will is not valid for some reason, such as undue influence, coercion or duress. If this becomes an issue in the probate in which you have a stake, it could end up delaying the process. If it turns out that the court invalidates the will, that also adds more time until the estate can be closed since it may be necessary to fall back on Tennessee’s intestate laws.

Another issue that could arise stems from the rights of the surviving spouse. Even if he or she was given an inheritance under the will or expects to inherit through the state’s distribution statutes, a spouse may take other elections under the law. This could easily stop the progression of a probate while everything is worked out.

In some cases, it may be possible to put the probate process back on track in a timely manner through negotiations or some other method of resolution. However, in other instances, you will need to see the issue through to its end in the courtroom. In either case, it would most likely make sense to make use of the experience and knowledge of a probate and estate administration attorney.