Please remember my first probate book is available for sale on Amazon or just email me for a free pdf. My second one may never get published so am posting each chapter here on my blog. Here’s chapter 11….
Chapter 11 – The Four Month Probate Period
The heart of a California probate takes place the day letters are issued by the court and the proceeding four months thereafter. What happens during that time depends on the case. Each case is unique. In some cases we are just waiting for the four months to end because we aren’t selling the house and there are no issues to deal with. In other cases we have assets to search for, assets to sell, creditors to deal with, tax problems to clear up, and beneficiary issues to clear up. In the former type of case we often have the final petition ready to file the day our four month bell tolls. In the latter type of case it can take significantly longer than four months to deal with all the issues. The key is paying attention to the timeline though. Many Courts have court dates that must be dealt with. For example, many courts require that the inventory and appraisal be filed within approximately 90 days of the court date when the appointment of the PR occurs. Others require a report of status approximately one year after that first court date. Typically these return dates will be announced by the Judge at the hearing. Take note of these days and do what is required by those dates. Failure to properly follow the court’s order can lead to removal of the PR and even an order of contempt of court. I have even seen in Court where the Judge issues a bench warrant for faillure to meet all their dates. Though that is rare it is important to abide by the court dates and when you can’t meet them be sure to follow something so the Judge knows what is going on. The bottom line is that keeping the Judge informed and showing up in Court at your court dates will reduce the risk of problems happening and at least you will have adequate notice before something happens.