Usually the first question that the estate beneficiaries will ask the Personal Representative/Executor is "When can I expect to receive my inheritance?" But unfortunately for the beneficiaries, making distributions of the estate assets to the estate beneficiaries is the very last step in settling the estate.
Prior to making any distributions to the estate beneficiaries, the Personal Representative/Executor must be certain that every single expense of administering the estate and all taxes have been paid or that enough assets have been set aside to pay the final bills and taxes. Otherwise, if the Personal Representative/Executor chooses to make distributions to the estate beneficiaries but expenses come up later, then the Personal Representative/Executor will have to pay these expenses out of his or her own personal assets.
If administration of the estate is expected to take more than a year, then the Personal Representative/Executor should work closely with the estate lawyer and accountant to plan for setting aside enough assets to pay the ongoing estate expenses and making distributions to the estate beneficiaries in multiple stages.Probate Checklist - 6 Steps to Probating an Estate