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When Your Heirs Can Expect To Get Their Money Or Other Asset


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The question of when your heirs will receive their inheritance can be almost as important as what they will receive, especially for dependents such as spouses and children.

When assets will be received by heirs differs depending on how the assets pass. For instance, if they pass automamtically because of the way the asset is titled, the transfer can be very fast. If they pass through the will, it can take time for the asset to pass to your heir - sometimes even years. For information about each of the various types, see the other sections of this article.


  • If your heirs need money while your estate is being probated, they can request an advance from the Personal Representative/Executor from time to time. If the Personal Representative/Executor declines, heirs can petition the court for advances.
    • The only question should be whether cash is or can be made available to satisfy the request. However, Personal Representatives/Executors have been known to consider whether any particular request for an advance is worthy. If the beneficiary has to ask the court for an advance, the judge may also impose his or her own belief as to whether the advance is a good idea.
    • You can also expect that a Personal Representative will be reluctant to distribute any money which the Personal Representative would have to pay personally if it were needed for estate purposes after the money had been distributed - such as to pay a tax deemed to be due after an audit. Personal Representatives are personally liable in this situation. Sure, the personal representative could theoretically get the money back from the person to whom it was distributed. However not many people are willing to take that risk.
  • If you live in one of twelve states -- Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Tennessee -- your heirs may have to pay taxes on the right to receive their inheritance.  Most states exempt spouses from inheritance taxes. Some states exempt children and parents from tax, or tax them at lower rates.

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