Continuances in Probate Court

Why do you or your lawyer sometimes want or need a continuance in your probate Court?

There are some cases where a continuance is needed. For example, I am appearing today, via CourtCall, in Los Angeles Superior Court to ask for a continuance on a case.  The case is extremely complicated and we have not been able to supply enough information to the Court for them to approve our petition. Though it’s likely the Judge may not grant it, in the end, there is no harm in getting a continuance to re-evaluate the options.

There are other cases where a continuance is a good idea for various reasons. Sometimes it’s a strategic thing where there is a reason to slow the case down. Or maybe it’s a cautious thing to make sure that every last tax issue is solved and every last creditor is resolved. Occasionally there are wild cards and thus a continuance is good to clear the air.

Is a continuance a bad thing?

In my opinion a continuance is rarely a bad thing. Yes, there are times when the attorney has made a mistake and yes that would be a bad thing. However, more typically it’s because the Court needs more time to review, the Court wants to give opponents time to file objections or the Court wants you to beef up your case regarding particular issues.

Do you have control over the decision?

Usually. I say usually because most often it is the client’s decision to get the continuance. However, when the attorney is not able to get the client’s desires then they typically will make the decision for them. A continuance is always safer than letting the Judge rule against you!

Can a continuance be had merely by a person showing up in Court and asking the Judge?

Sometimes. You never want to rely on this as there are some Courts who will not grant the continuance merely by the request of an objector. Thus you may need to file something in writing which would likely create the need to pay a filing fee (currently $435 in California). However, you need to be careful about making sure that it is not construed as an objection in case there is a no contest clause in the will or trust.  Thus a “request for continuance” might be a softer way to label the document.

If you have questions about seeking continuances in probate or trust matters ask me. I am happy to answer!


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