Unless there are complications or disputes, most estates take between six and ten months for formal administration and four to five weeks for a summary administration. Larger estates in which estate taxes are due cannot close for some time until the IRS signs off on the Estate Tax Return 706, which has to be filed within nine months after the date of death and often takes that long to prepare. Taxable estates are doing well to close in two years. For the IRS publication on estate tax, see http://www.irs.gov/publications/p950/index.html.

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