How long should a California probate take?

A lot of people who google the question “how long should a California probate take” probably are either:

1) contemplating hiring a lawyer who says it will take a year or more; or
2) in the midst of a probate with a lawyer who is taking a year or more.

I have personally completed over 1,000 California probate cases and they should usually be done within a year. There are only a few reasons probate should go longer than about 8-9 months in fact. Those reasons are:

1) Bad Court Dates- The fact is some courts are overly busy and you can get court dates 2-3 months out. You need at least two court dates during probate plus a four month probate period. So you can get up toward a year if you get bad court dates.

2) Creditors- The one year mark is considered the hard line for creditors to file claims. If you do not know much about the decedent’s life and/or have concerns about unknown creditors waiting until after one year makes sense.

3) Selling Real estate- When you sell real estate in probate you have a few less disclosure requirements than if you sell it after probate. In my opinion this is rarely a major issue as you always have to disclose known problems no matter what. However, on rare occasions it may make sense to sell real estate during probate. Right now selling real estate in four months is no problem but if it’s a unique property it could take longer.

4) Disputes- There are cases with disputes about who the heirs are, disputes about what a will means, disputes about property ownership, disputes with taxing authorities and disputes with creditors. All of these could delay a probate longer than a year.

If you are not dealing with one of the above then your case should be about 8 months IN TOTAL – from start to finish.

If you would like to hear about how I do FAST California probates contact me to discuss your case.

-John

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