When a loved one passes away, his or her estate often goes through a court-managed process called probate or estate administration, where the deceased's assets are managed and distributed.

If your loved one owned his or her assets through a well-drafted and properly funded living trust, it is likely that no court-managed administration is necessary, although the successor trustee needs to administer the distribution of the deceased's assets.

The length of time needed to complete the probate of an estate depends on its size and complexity, as well as on the local rules and schedule of the probate court.