Big delays in California probate courts

Even if you have the best California probate attorney you can get a bad court date. In most cases there are two court dates given. One at the beginning when you file the Petition for Probate or Petition for Letters Testamentary or Petition for Letters of Administration. The second date is at the end of probate when you file your accounting which is often called a First and Final Report.

I always ask the Court to actually follow the law and give my clients a court date within 30 days as provided in California probate code 8003.  That section provides, in part, “The hearing on the petition shall be set for a day not less than 15 nor more than 30 days after the petition is filed.” However, many courts ignore the law and still file 2 or 3 months out.

So the first court date does at least have a law that the courts are supposed to follow. They may or may not follow it but at least there is hope for a good court date. The final report, as well as any other petitions that may be needed, there is no help in the probate code. So if you file a petition for heirship, a petition to confirm sale of real property, or any other such petition your hearing could be 2, 3 or more months out.

So, back to the final petition. I filed a final petition on 3/20/18 in San Diego county and was given 7/3/18 as my client’s court date. 3 and 1/2 months out! To me this is shocking and unacceptable. Perhaps the legislature can do something!?  The citizens of California, who have lost a loved one, should not have to wait MONTHS to end their probate.

Maybe we need more funding for the Courts!? Maybe we need to improve procedures!?  I don’t know but we need something to help our clients!

-John