You may not know a lot about the probate process. After all, it is not natural to want to learn about things that happen after we or our loved ones die. That said, it is helpful to know the basics about how probate works, so you know what to expect.

Unfortunately, plenty of myths abound regarding probate and wills that make it difficult to know what is true. Here are some debunked misconceptions about probate.

Myth #1: All probate processes take years to complete

A lot of people believe it takes years to resolve the issues of an estate. However, most probate processes do not take years. You can expect a probate process to generally take between a few months to a year. The exception is a complex situation. Some things that may cause a complex and lengthy probate process include family squabbles, ongoing income or a high-asset estate.

Myth #2: The oldest child is always the executor of a parent’s estate

Being the oldest child does not guarantee someone to be the executor, or personal representative, of the estate. If the parent designates someone to be the executor, the probate court will appoint this individual. But if there is no executor or the named executor cannot serve, the court will look to probate laws to make a decision. The surviving spouse is usually first in line, with adult children next. If multiple children wish to be executors, they may act as co-executors.

Myth #3: Probate is too expensive

Many people villainize probate. While probate can come with costs, they are generally not outrageous. Some estates are better off avoiding probate through trusts, but this is usually not necessary. Probate is generally a fine process for most estates.

Now that you know more about the probate process, you can handle it confidently when the time comes.