How Long Is an Average Probate Case in California?
Just like each person’s estate will be unique, so will be the legal process of distributing and closing their estate, which is called probate. Probate has many specific procedures under California law, and the courts are often backed up. For this reason, probate can take longer than you might expect in the Santa Ana area.
There is no way to estimate how long probate might take in your case without first evaluating your specific situation. However, the following is an overview of the probate timeline in California courts.
In general, a probate case must take the following procedural path:
- An attorney files pleadings and the will with the proper court
- A hearing date is set for six to 12 weeks later
- There is a four-month period in which creditors can make claims on the estate
- An attorney files a petition for the distribution of estate property
- A hearing date is again set for six to 12 weeks later
If everything goes smoothly and you wait the minimum time for your hearings, your probate case can - at best - be handled in seven months. However, most cases have additional issues or waiting periods that can delay the process.
Potential Probate Complications
There are different types of issues that can drag out the probate process significantly. Few cases end in seven to nine months without complications, and it is important to be prepared with the right legal representation when issues arise. Some common complications in probate cases include the following:
Not having a will - When someone dies without a will, which is called dying intestate, it adds extra steps to the probate case, such as needing the court to appoint a personal representative of the estate.
Will contests - If a beneficiary or potential heir decides to challenge the validity of the will, it can create significant delays in the process, as the judge will need to resolve that matter before probate can proceed.
Challenging creditor claims - Sometimes, creditors can make invalid claims against an estate, and it is important to properly fight such claims to preserve the estate property.
Problems with the personal representative - Some personal representatives might not perform their jobs as needed, which can lead to delays or more significant legal disputes with beneficiaries.
It is critical to have an attorney who can address any possible complications while trying to keep the probate process on track.
Contact a Santa Ana Probate Lawyer for Assistance
After a loved one passes away, the last thing you need is to face a lengthy court case. However, this is necessary to ensure the estate is handled and distributed in a proper manner. At the Law Offices of Roshni T. Desai, we take every step possible to make the probate process as efficient as possible. We handle complex legal matters so you do not have to do so. If you need assistance with probate or have concerns about an open probate case, please call 715-694-1200 or contact us online right away.