How long does Probate take in California?

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Kimberly D. Neilson - Elder Law - Super Lawyers

Answered by: Kimberly D. Neilson

Located in San Diego, CAFrisella Neilson, APC

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Probate of an estate in California can take as little as nine months; however, that would be considered fast. On average they take a year to a year and a half. Depending on the facts of a particular estate, the administration may take longer. The decedent's estate must go through probate in California if the decedent had a will or if the decedent died without leaving a will. An estate can be administered without probate, however, if the value of assets subject to probate is less than $150,000. The first step is determining whether the decedent had a will, and if so, the will generally lists the named executor(s). If there is no will, the Probate Code sets out an order of priority for individuals who can serve as personal representative or administrator of the estate. The next step is petitioning the court for appointment. Once appointed, the personal representative attempts to gather information regarding the decedent's estate and submits this information to the court for purposes of valuation. Ultimately the assets will be distributed subject to court order in accordance with the terms of the will or by the laws of intestate succession. 

The fees are set by the California Probate Code and unless extraordinary efforts are necessary, the attorney and the administrator are paid based on a percentage of the estate’s value subject to court approval and are not paid until the probate is complete.


Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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