Alternatives to a Probate Advance

Some heirs need cash today, but do not necessarily want to give up a portion of their inheritance to receive it.  

Some estates will make what is commonly referred to as an “interim distribution,” whereby some of the estate is distributed before the estate is ready to be closed.  Most executors are reluctant to make an interim distribution, because they face personal liability if they make a distribution to the detriment of a creditor, for example.  The estate might not also have sufficient cash to make an interim distribution.  You should consult a probate attorney if you believe that the estate should be able to make an interim distribution but refuses to do so.

It is also possible, at least in theory, for an estate to borrow money from a traditional bank and use those funds to make an interim distribution.  Most banks are not equipped to make probate loans, so these are pretty rare.  Also, the executor will also normally be asked by the traditional bank to personally guarantee the loan, which most executors will refuse to do.

There are also a number of waiting periods associated with probate, which is one reason it takes so long.  For example, most states require that the executor provide a final accounting to the beneficiaries.  The beneficiaries are then permitted to object to the account, and a normal objection period is 30 days.  If there is an objection to something on the accounting, there might be discovery, and then an evidentiary hearing.  Most states allow beneficiaries to waive their objections to an accounting to facilitate faster closing of estates.  So one way to speed up probate and avoid the necessity of a probate cash advance would be for all of the beneficiaries to waive objection rights throughout the process, including the objection period for a final accounting.  But, this is not always wise to do, and all it takes is one person to not agree to waive objection periods and everyone then has to wait.  You should consult a qualified probate attorney for more information.