Free California Probate Book

Back in 2016 I wrote my first book on the California probate process.  It is called How to Live and Die with the California Probate: a Layperson's Guide to the California Probate Process. I have put a link below if you want to buy it. If you want a FREE copy just send me an email and ask! I wrote the book to try to help young attorneys, general practice attorneys, and do-it-yourselfers with the cumbersome probate process. I intended to point out some nooks and crannies of the system that catch people and cause delays. I believe the book accomplishes that and should help you avoid some of the pitfalls but obviously it can not list every last pitfall as it would be hundreds of pages and need to be updated monthly! As an attorney who has completed over 1,000 C
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Can I sell a house during a California probate?

People are often pleasantly surprised to learn that the answer to this question (Can I sell a house during a California probate) is an affirmative, YES!  That is correct, without hesitation, and that is without any doubt.

Y - E - S !

You can sell a house during a probate in California. However, there are timelines to be aware of and procedures to follow. Let's talk about some of them here.... First of all you can not take any action, including selling of real estate, until you have authority from the California probate court. This means the Judge has to decree a court order and the Clerk has to issue Letters of Administration or Letters Testamentary. That "letters" document is what puts you in the decedent's shoes t
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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
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How to Hold Title to Real Estate

I have been asked the questions many times how should people hold title to real estate in California. Let's talk about the options. First and foremost, for anybody that owns real estate in California, the best method is in a California revocable living trust. The other options, below, are a distant second place.  Why is that?  The main reason is that trust ownership avoids probate after death and it also avoids the need for a conservatorship if incapacity happens during life. It's really that simple.  Probate and conservatorships are extremely expensive and should pretty much always be avoided.  So owning a property in a revocable living trust is the best. However, owning property in a trust is not the only method and there is one primary reason everybody does not ha
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