Frequently Asked Questions > Steps to Take When Someone Dies > How long do I have to probate the will?

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In general, the will must be submitted for probate within four years of the date of death.  If more than four years have elapsed since the date of death, it may still be possible to probate the will, but a more complicated procedure is required.  Ask your attorney for more information about this.  Sometimes people think that because they have access to all the bank accounts, it is not necessary to probate the will.  This can cause serious problems.  For example, problems may arise later, when the family decides to sell real estate owned by the decedent.  If you think it is not necessary in your case to probate the will, you should be sure to discuss this with an attorney before allowing the four-year period for probate to lapse.

Last updated on January 6, 2011 by Glenn Karisch