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How long does it take to get money from an inheritance?

The single most important factor to determining how long it may take to get money from an inheritance is to know if the inheritance is managed by a Trust or if it will go through Probate. For small estates there are also other ways an inheritance can be transferred including a joint account, pay-on-death account or a deed. For this article we’ll focus on the most common ways to distribute an inheritance, Trust and Probate, with a trust being a much preferred method.

Differences Between a Trust and Probate

Inheritance Trust

A common way to keep an estate out of probate court is with a trust. When the assets are transferred to a trust they are no longer considered part of an estate. The trust clearly outlines how assets are to be distributed but the process can be slowed by one or more of the following:

  • The types and values of assets
  • The number of beneficiaries
  • Disputes among the beneficiaries
  • Federal and state tax liabilities
  • Amounts owed to creditors
  • The diligence of the trustee

Trusts often include  a so-called “spendthrift clause” that prohibits the beneficiary from assigning his or her interest.  This is meant to protect the beneficiary, but it means  the trust assets cannot support  a loan or advance.


Probate is the legal process under court supervision that takes place after someone dies. It makes sure property and possessions are given to the correct people, and any taxes or debts owed are paid in full.

A court may take several weeks to appoint an executor for the deceased’s estate. Once appointed, the executor must perform a number of tasks, including:

  • Inventorying and appraising assets, which might take three or four months to complete.
  • Notifying creditors and settling claims. States have various deadlines, but the usual time required is about six months.
  • Selling personal assets, such as stocks and bonds, and real estate, typically the family home.
  • Filing a tax return and paying any taxes. As of the time of publication, only estates valued above $11.58 million are subject to estate tax. No estate tax is due when the sole beneficiary is the surviving spouse. The executor must file the estate’s tax return within nine months of death.

Only after these duties are completed can the executor distribute the estate’s remaining assets, so it’s easy to imagine this process taking a year or longer to complete.

To read more about the probate process checkout this article >>

So, back to our original question ‘How long does it take to get money from an inheritance?’.

How long does it take to distribute money from a trust?

Most trusts are the kind of trust that can be distributed generally within one year to eighteen months.  Rarely will a trustee or trust administration need to go further than two years.

The majority of trusts can get a preliminary distribution maybe within several months after a loved one’s death, and then ultimately it should be about one year to eighteen months to get the final distribution.

How long does probate take?

Probate usually takes at least six to nine months to settle. If there are significant challenges or uncertainties, then the probate process could take significantly longer due to litigation and investigation.

The time frame for will versus no will is more or less the same. This is because in both situations the court needs to first catalog all of the assets in the deceased’s estate. It will also allow time for challenges, before distribution.

The form of your inheritance will dictate how long or complicated the process is. The process might also extend significantly if there are legal challenges by others who claim the asset or if the deceased’s documents are ambiguous.

Be sure to seek legal counsel and financial planning advice to help you understand how to navigate the estate planning process both before and after death so as to minimize the associated delays and complications.

How long does it take to get money from an inheritance?

For those who have pressing financial needs and you can’t wait for your inheritance to be distributed there are options to access part of the money you are owed early. Usually less expensive than a credit card or other short-term loans an inheritance advance offers you a portion of the money owed with a fixed cost that doesn’t fluctuate over time or have hidden surprises. The inheritance advance company looks to the estate for repayment not to the individual, so even a beneficiary with poor credit can get an advance quickly and without embarrassing personal questions.


Call Matt at Heir Cash Now to get your questions answered and find out if an advance is right for you (860) 800-6633

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