How long does the probate process take?

Probate is a legal process that takes place after a person has died. In California, the estate of the decedent is administered through the court system and is properly distributed to his or her heirs and designated beneficiaries. In addition, any debt that is owed to creditors is paid off at this time.

Property and assets that need to go through the probate process are distributed according to the wishes of the decedent as spelled out in his or her last will and testament. If there is no will, then property and assets are distributed according to the intestate laws of the state of California.

The probate estate includes any property that is solely in the decedent’s name. It does not include trusts, insurance proceeds, or any other property that is held jointly with another individual(s).

The estate is administered by an executor who is usually named by the decedent in his or her will. If not, the court will appoint a person of its choosing. The duties of the executor include collecting the estate property and assets, and then providing the court with an inventory. Once the assets are used to pay expenses and any outstanding debts, the remaining property will be distributed to the heirs and beneficiaries.

How long does probate take? The answer to that question depends on a few variables; therefore, the timeline for the probate process is not hard and fast and can differ from state to state.

Months or years?

In California, the probate process can be concluded in as little as six months to nine month or as long as two years. How long probate will take depends upon the size of the estate and whether there are unexpected issues or problems that arise during the process. If the decedent had a will, the probate process is a lot simpler and can be concluded in a timelier manner.

However, there are complications that may increase the length of the process, including the complexity of the estate, whether or not the decedent’s will is contested, the number of outstanding debts and obligations, tax complications, and non-probate lawsuits.

Help in the meantime

When a family member dies, you’ll want to consider finding a good probate lawyer to help you get through the probate process as fast as possible. If you live in the San Diego area and want to hire an attorney for probate, The Law Office of David W. Foley — California Living Trusts — should be the first call that you make.

In practice for over 35 years, David W. Foley and associates endeavor to make the probate process as simple as possible. The goal is to keep you informed every step of the way and to close the estate of your loved one without any unnecessary delays.

Make an appointment to consult with one of our attorneys today.

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