FAST Probate

Fast… but CAREFUL should be the key to just about all California probates.  Why not?  You just dealt with a death and you want to get on with life, right?  Make sure your attorney is on board with that plan too!

As I have told you before probate is a 7 month process, minimum, in California. That is for a standard or “full” probate as opposed to one of the mini probate options (under $150,000, spousal property petition, or Heggstad petition). The timeline is roughly as follows:

– File initial petition day 1;

– First Court date will be about 6-7 weeks after filing;

– Assuming all documents have been filed properly the Court Order and Court’s Letters of Administration, or Letters Testamentary, will issue on that first Court date;

– The 4 month probate period starts the day letters issue and during that time you will sell property, marshal assets, deal with creditors, deal with taxes, ascertain who the heirs are, etc…;

– Assuming everything is completed during the 4 month period you will then file the final probate petitions on, or just after, the 4 month period ends. I try to plan ahead, in many cases, by having the final petition ready to go a few days ahead of time so it can be filed on the exact 4 month date;

– After filing the final petition, or accounting, you will wait 6-7 weeks until the final Court date;

– Assuming everything was prepared and filed right the Judge will sign the Court order on the day of that final hearing;

– Checks are then written;

– After that a few administrative matters are taken care including filing receipts, final discharge and exoneration of the bond if there was one;

– You are then free to get on with your life!

There are cases where we do not want to conclude within 7 months. For example, in cases we want to deal with creditors in the probate we may wait until one year after death. However, most cases can be safely completed in 7 months.

Before you hire your California probate attorney make sure they know about the 7 month timeline and ask them for their plan to keep your probate moving FAST!

Contact me with questions.  -John

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